Saturday 24 March 2018

Stick or carrot? Giant rabbit on a diet after being mistaken for a dog

Zeus is on a diet after he was mistaken for a dog. (PDSA/PA)
Zeus is on a diet after he was mistaken for a dog. (PDSA/PA)
Zeus (right) has been mistaken for a dog

The owner of a rabbit which has been mistaken for a dog owing to its size is looking to get her pet back into shape.

Zeus, thought to be a Californian breed, weighs in at 1st 4lbs (8.2kg) - the same as a one-year-old child, pet charity PDSA said.

His companion Nala, a Lionhead, is 2lbs (900g) overweight and owner Sharon Close, of Leicester, took in the pair after finding them abandoned five years ago.

The 46-year-old is looking to help the rabbits shift the pounds as part of the PDSA Pet Fit Club competition.

She said: "Both Zeus and Nala are very fond of food and absolutely love Ryvita crackers. I also feed them bags of salad, spinach and treats, which I hide in their hay.

"When they were found in the park, it was freezing and they weren't in great condition. They'd had a tough start in life and I suppose I wanted to compensate for that.

"Zeus is absolutely huge now, I can't lift him any more. He's just not interested in exercising or playing, even when I let him out in the garden. He just sits there.

"One time I took him out into the front garden and a neighbour said 'shouldn't that dog be on a lead?' When I told her he was a rabbit her jaw nearly hit the floor."

The plan is to make slow adjustments to the rabbits' lifestyle to help them slim down - and Ms Close has entered them into the competition to jump-start her rabbits' health kick.

Rae Andrew, from the Leicester Pet Hospital, said: "Zeus is the biggest rabbit we've ever seen, he's absolutely enormous.

"However, even small changes to an obese pet's diet and exercise regime can have a big impact and potentially help them live longer."

The Pet Fit competition will see 15 overweight dogs, cats and rabbits selected to be given a diet and exercise programme by vets.

Press Association

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