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Plump pooch from Thornton leads the way in doggy diets
A much-loved family dog that has three legs and is twice the weight it should be is on a diet.
Golden Retriever Poppie, who tips the scales at 33kg – more than five stones – is one of 18 million pets in the UK at risk of early death due to being overweight, according to the PDSA.
The veterinary charity is using Poppie to highlight its annual animal slimming competition to find Britain’s fattest pet and help it get fit.
Poppie’s owner Robert McEntee, of Thornton, Bradford, has entered her into the contest after attending a PDSA weight-loss clinic in Bradford.
“Helping Poppie is my main concern,” said Mr McEntee. “She is a very happy dog, but she struggles when she does go for a walk – she cannot manage 15 minutes at the moment. I’m keen for Poppie to lose her excess weight as I know she’ll be happier and will find it easier to get around on her three legs.”
Poppie was adopted by Mr McEntee and his wife Dawn as a puppy and initially taken on lots of long walks. Now aged three, she lives with the couple, their four children and another dog called Eva, four, in Thornton.
She is a companion for the four children, Bethany, 16, Caitlyn, 12, nine-year-old Joseph and 19-month-old William. But changes in the family resulted in Poppie piling on the pounds. Mr McEntee said: “After William was born 19 months ago with with Branchio-Oto-Renal syndrome, we didn’t have as much time to take Poppie on her usual walks.”
William’s condition, which includes partial deafness, meant lots of hospital appointments and not so much time to walk Poppie. The cold, icy weather also makes it difficult for three-legged Poppie to go out on walks.
Mr McEntee said: “We were also hit hard by the recession and to save money decided to switch to a much cheaper brand of dog food. We also used to give Poppie regular dog treats as a reward for walking, and after a while she soon started putting on weight.”
Poppie also gained weight after taking steroids to treat ear infections.
Now, says Mr McEntee, Poppie is on a calorie-controlled diet and is not allowed treats. She is also missing out on the skin from a Sunday roast chicken. Dr Alex German, an animal obesity specialist at the University of Liverpool's veterinary school, said pet obesity was “entirely preventable” and could be reversed with “veterinary supervision and owner dedication”.
Fat pets can be entered into the PDSA slimming competition at pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub. The closing date for entries is April 12.