'Just a five-minute walk left him breathless': Obese rescue dog loses one-third of body weight at pet fit club
Billy the six-year-old cocker spaniel lives in North Lanarkshire, ScotlandOwners Jane and George Hunter did not realise he was so fatAt 23.5kg Billy was 34% heavier than recommended for his size and breed
14:58 GMT, 31 October 2012
Billy's owners had always found his puppy dog eyes impossible to resist.
And as a result the lovable cocker spaniel was forever eating scraps from their plates, naughty treats and sweet snacks – as well as munching through four meals of actual dog food a day.
But Jane and George Hunter from North Lanarkshire, Scotland, realised things had got out of hand when six-year-old Billy became so fat he couldn't jump onto the sofa, and walking for just five minutes left him gasping for breath.
Supersize spaniel: Billy the cocker spaniel when he weighed over 23kg before his crash diet and new fitness regime gave him a new lease of life
At 23.5kg (52lbs) – and with the average weight of a healthy cocker spaniel being between six and 17kg (15 and 37lbs) – Billy had been pampered into obesity.
When Jane, 68, noticed her beloved pet could no longer climb onto the sofa
because of his growing bulge she enrolled him in a special pet fit club.
And six months later Billy has shed 6.9kg (15lbs), now weighing in at a trim
16.6kg (36.5lbs) and regularly breezes through four-mile walks.
Jane, from North Lanarkshire, Scotland, said: 'Billy is a
different dog. He runs all over the place, we walk him four times a day
and he loves it.
'Before, he couldn’t do anything, he couldn't jump on the bed, or the
sofa and after five minutes out walking he would be out of breath. He
was like an old man of about 90.
'We just didn't realise that giving in to his puppy dog eyes was so bad for his waistline.'
Fit as a fiddle: PDSA Vet Nurse Kirsty MacDougall checks Billy the cocker spaniel's new svelte waistline following his six-month diet plan
Billy was found wondering the streets in Salsburgh, North Lanarkshire, as an 11-week-old puppy by a member of the public and handed into the police.
He was taken in by Jane and George who spent five years feeding him an excessive diet of tinned dog food, supplemented with sweet snacks and treats from the dinner table.
But last November Jane, a retired nursery worker, noticed a decline in Billy’s health and enrolled him at a special fit club run by the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals at Glasgow East PDSA Pet Aid hospital.
Proud owners: George and Jane Hunter with slimming Billy the dieting spaniel
Big fella: 'Before, he couldnt do anything, he couldn't jump on the bed, or the sofa and after five minutes out walking he would be out of breath – he was like an old man of about 90'
Vets weighed the unfit pooch and were astonished to find that Billy was 34 per cent heavier than the recommended weight for a dog of his size and breed.
Jane, a grandmother of six, said: 'Billy would get everything – left-overs, treats or a piece of cake on someone's birthday. He could eat all day.
'We loved him to bits but we didn't realise what damage we were doing.'
Billy was put on a special diet of dried
dog food and after just four mouths weighed 18kg (39.6lbs). He went on
to lose more weight and is now fitter than ever.
Puppy love: Billy the super-slimming dog as a rescue puppy, when he was taken in by Jane and George Harris
Jane added: 'The PDSA have done wonders with him. Getting Billy to stick to the diet was something of a challenge at the start as human food had become a much loved part of his life.
'But now he's a new dog. He really is marvellous and great with the grandkids. We walk him four times a day and then on a weekend we do about four miles around the park.
'Billy runs around without getting out of breath and is generally happier in everything he does.'
Siobhan Casey, senior vet at Glasgow East PDSA Pet Aid hospital, said: 'This is a great success story for all concerned, and Jane has clearly done a wonderful job in managing Billy’s food intake and safely increasing his activity levels.'
Fluffball: Billy before his diet, during which his owners were taught that dogs should stick to food that is designed for them, not for humans
Handsome boy: Finally Billy, pictured with owners George and Jane Hunter, is able to enjoy running about like his canine companions