Nemo, a ten-year-old Labrador from Durban that lost 22% of his bodyweight in a bid to beat crippling arthritis, has been chosen as South Africa’s 2012 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year. Nemo shed a total of 11kgs on a special weight loss programme for overweight pets, going from a mammoth 51kgs to a svelte, healthier 40kgs. His owner Nicolene John is ecstatic, “As a family we always knew Nemo was special but now South Africa agrees with us and they have fallen in love with him as well. Nemo you have made us so proud. We love you.”
Nemo, a ten-year-old Labrador from Durban that lost 22% of his bodyweight on a special weight loss programme has been chosen as South Africa’s 2012 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year. Nemo shed a total of 11kgs, going from a mammoth 51kgs to a svelte, healthier 40kgs. One of ten finalists in the annual competition held to raise awareness of the dangers of pet obesity, Nemo was chosen as overall winner by public voting online.
When Nemo was adopted by the John family of Yellowwood Park a decade ago he landed with his bum in the proverbial butter. The entire family adored the mischievous yellow Labrador, sharing the couch, their beds and food with him. His usual diet of pet mince was supplemented with table scraps, KFC and doggie biscuits. He was constantly rewarded with treats; every time he fetched the daily newspaper, or sometimes ‘just because’. Ten years later the treats had taken their toll - Nemo weighed a mammoth 51kgs and was starting to show signs of joint pain. Veterinarian Dr Saadiya Mangera persuaded the family to put Nemo on a diet - and having already seen their previous dog suffering from crippling arthritis in his older years, this was enough encouragement.
(Before and after picture of Nemo)
Initially the John family found it a challenge to only feed Nemo carefully measured portions of Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d – a food specifically designed to help obese pets regain their optimum weight. But Nemo loved the food and started to shed weight almost immediately giving further motivation.
Dr Mangera says that since reaching his goal weight Nemo is “a different dog, he’s like a puppy again”. “Owners are always very happy because they see such a difference in their pet’s condition, energy levels and behaviour.”
Pets are at risk...
Nemo’s owner Nicolene John was ecstatic when she heard Nemo had taken the 2012 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year title, “As a family we always knew Nemo was special but now South Africa agrees with us and they have fallen in love with him as well. Nemo you have made us so proud. We love you.”
It seems the cause of the obesity epidemic in pets is similar to why people are increasingly overweight – too much energy being consumed and too little used up. The Hill’s Pet Slimmer competition is a small part of a campaign to combat pet obesity, which according to veterinarian Dr Guy Fyvie affects “an estimated 50% of the South African pet population that visit vets.”
“Fat cats and dogs are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer. Rather than thinking you’re demonstrating how much you love your pet, when you over-feed or indulge them, you may actually be shortening their lifespan,” he says.
The five pets that received the most votes in the contest each won R5, 000 in recognition of their weight loss achievement. Nemo as the overall top dog was awarded the coveted 2012 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year title and joins the Hill’s Pet Slimmer Hall of Fame. The other four winners are:
Mr Tigger Dutton from Durban, the only cat that made it to the finals. He lost 45% of his bodyweight, going from 9.2kg to 5.1kg with the help of La Lucia Veterinary Clinic.
Stoffel van Niekerk, a Corgi-cross Airedale from Centurion, Pretoria, lost 35% of his bodyweight (30kg to 19.4kg) under the care of Noag Animal Clinic.
Patrys Stander, a wire-haired Jack Russell from Hartebeestpoort Dam and Pretoria, lost 32% of her bodyweight (14.8kg to 10kg), with the help of Atterbury Bird & Animal Hospital.
Dart Sueltz, a Beagle from Rivonia, Johannesburg lost 29% of his bodyweight (20kg to 14.2kg) with the help of Rivonia Village Veterinary Clinic.
For advice on your pet’s optimum weight speak to your vet or visit www.petslimmer.co.za– it is full of useful tools and healthy eating advice to make keeping pets in shape easier than ever before.
(Press release, November 2012)