Not only people are shaping up for summer; the ten finalists
in the annual Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year competition have just been
announced; the nine dogs and one cat have lost an average 25% of their bodyweight
and in total almost 100kg.
Their dramatic before-and-after photos and inspiring
weight-loss stories are on www.petslimmer.co.za where people can vote for their
favorites. The five most popular pets at midday on 22 October will each be
awarded R5 000 and the one with the highest number of votes will win the
coveted 2013 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year title.
According to studies, the real reward is a healthier,
happier and longer life – the lifespan of an overweight pet is shortened by at
least two years1 and obese dogs that lost weight were shown to have more
vitality, less “emotional disturbance” and pain2. “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,” says Dr Guy
Fyvie, veterinary advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Obesity in pets is a big problem – South African vets say
about half the patients they treat weigh more than is healthy. In response to
this serious health issue, over 350 veterinary practices in South Africa and
Namibia have started running weight loss programmes for their super-size
Owners appear to not be a very objective when it comes to
their pet; in the 2010 South African Healthy Pet Survey only 12.5% of dog
owners and 20% of cat owners said they consider their pet to be overweight, yet
according to vets the figure is nearer 50%.
How do you know if your pet is a healthy size? Ask your vet
for professional advice or visit www.petslimmer.co.za – it has tools to help
calculate ideal weight, loads of nutritional advice and a list of veterinary
practices that run the Hill’s Pet Slimmer programme.
The 2013 Hill’s Pet Slimmer finalists are:
Bekker, a yellow Labrador from Centurion, Pretoria lost 11.5kgs (23% of his
bodyweight) and 22 cm from around his waist under the care of Bakenkop Animal
Botha, a Dachshund from Centurion, Pretoria lost 5.3kg (41% of his bodyweight)
under the care of Zwartkop Animal Clinic. Felix went from dragging his tummy on
the ground to bouncing about with his brother Triton.
• Gina Van
Zyl, a Beagle from Valhalla, Pretoria, lost a third of her bodyweight 7.5kgs
under the care of Zwartkop Animal Clinic. Used to being fed all kinds of treats
Gina got so big she developed a limp and was unable to get off the couch. Since
losing weight she is playful once again, enjoys regular walks and chasing
Van Schalkwyk, a Rottweiler from Centurion, Pretoria that lost 25kgs (30% of
his bodyweight) under the care of Bakenkop Animal Clinic. His owners thought he was just ‘big-boned’
but since losing weight Hector’s skin problems have cleared up, he’s bouncing
around and is a happier, friendlier dog.
Versfeld, a three-legged Labrador from Waverley in Pretoria, lost 8.4kgs (20%
of his bodyweight) at Frystraat Animal Hospital. After being hit by a car and
injuring his leg Max’s original owners no longer wanted him. He was adopted by
the Versfeld family who showed how much he was loved with food and treats until
they realised his ballooning weight was becoming a serious problem.
Haycock, a Giant Schnauzer from Pretoria, lost 12.8kg (24% of her bodyweight)
under the care of Rietvallei Animal Clinic. Mushi’s weight ballooned when she
was grieving, as her owners tried to tempt her out of her depression with extra
Tully, an English Bulldog from Durban, lost 6.5kgs (18% of his bodyweight)
under the care of La Lucia Veterinary Clinic. Ollie picked up weight after
being neutered; since losing weight his skin is better, he snores less and even
his flatulence has improved!
Coni, the English Bulldog from Brooklyn, Pretoria, lost 8.85kgs (27% of her
bodyweight) under the care of Waterkloof Veterinary Hospital. Her owner says
went from being grumpy and struggling to walk properly to being like a new dog
that has re-found her youth.
McKay, a Boxer from Port Elizabeth, lost 9.5kgs (22% of his bodyweight) under
the care of Kragga Kamma Animal Clinic. Preston can once again jump into the
car and enjoy exercise since shedding his extra kilos.
Grove, a cat from Constantia Park, Pretoria, lost 1.1kgs (17% of his
bodyweight) under the care of Rietvallei Animal Clinic. Timmy used to enjoy
meals and treats with his owner but is happier, healthy and more active since
Each person can vote for a maximum of five pets from midday
1 October to midday 22 October. Two voters will be randomly chosen each week to
win a R150 Hill’s prize hamper.
-Issued by Paula Wilson Media Consulting for
Hill’s Pet Nutrition.