Sunday 18 February 2018

Pizza fan Kayla sheds pounds to scoop Pet Fit Club award

Kayla with her owner Agnes Higgins at the start of PDSA Pet Fit Club (PA/PDSA)
Kayla with her owner Agnes Higgins at the start of PDSA Pet Fit Club (PA/PDSA)

A dog that used to feast on pizzas and roast dinners has been crowned Scotland's pet slimmer of the year after shedding a third of her body weight.

Bullmastiff Kayla weighed more than 61kg (9st 6lb) and faced health problems at the start of the annual PDSA Pet Fit Club competition in June before losing 17kg.

The seven-year-old's owner Agnes Higgins took responsibility for the weight problems as she used to cook enough for two portions at every meal - one for her and one for Kayla.

She said the dog would regularly eat Sunday roasts, pizza and bowls of cornflakes for breakfast.

Ms Higgins, from Glasgow, said: "As soon as we enrolled in the competition, the extra treats and leftovers stopped.

"It took her a while to stop begging and expecting food whenever I ate, but she has adjusted and doesn't grumble at all now."

Before the competition, Kayla would get breathless on short walks and rarely exercised but now enjoys playing with Ms Higgins's grandchildren.

She added: "I'm thrilled Kayla has won Pet Fit Club, but for me the real achievement is her weight loss. It's the best thing I've ever done.

"I didn't realise before that I was slowly killing her with huge portions and unhealthy treats. Hopefully she will live a longer and happier life as a result of the changes that we've made."

PDSA vet Hannah McIvor said: "Agnes has been so dedicated and worked incredibly hard to help her shift every one of her excess pounds. They have stuck to the diet and they're now reaping the rewards for all of their hard work.

"Kayla looks amazing, is much happier and more energetic. I'm very proud of how far she's come and I hope it encourages other owners to do the same for their four-legged friends."

Labrador Bobby was runner-up in the competition, dropping 10.5kg from 63.5kg (9st 13lbs).

His owner Marilyn Neave said the nine-year-old was so greedy that he would steal people's picnics in summer time.

Ms Neave, from Dundee, said: "The hardest part of the competition has been trying to stop Bobby eating things off the streets. He has a built-in radar when it comes to food.

"I found it very hard at the start of the diet to ignore his pleading puppy dog eyes when I was eating.

"Being more active has also been good for both of us and we've enjoyed a lot more exercise. He can go further on walks and he's got lots more energy.

"It's not just the physical benefits either, taking part in Pet Fit Club has been good for my mental health and for his."

PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones, who helped to judge the competition, said: "It proves that it's never too late to make positive changes to improve our pet's health and wellbeing.

"All of this year's Pet Fit Club slimmers are enjoying a better quality of life thanks to their weight loss.

"I encourage any owner who is concerned about their pet's weight to speak to their vet, they will be able to help start them on the road to a happier, healthier life."

Poppy the Springer Spaniel, from Liverpool, bagged second place after losing nearly a quarter of her bodyweight.

Third place was snagged by a formerly chubby Pug, aptly named Rolo, from Surrey.

A sandwich-stealing cat from Surrey, called Ruby, was the top feline slimmer after shedding 3lb.

Another top dog dieter, Bob the Beagle, from Birmingham, was too fat to wag his tail before entering the competition.

Press Association

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