THE EIGHT BIGGEST LOSERS HOPE TO WIN - HILLS PET SLIMMER OF THE YEAR 2006
1 November 2006
Seven dogs and one cat have been selected as the finalists in the 2006 national Hills Pet Slimmer of the Year. They have beaten off seriously weighty, with this years entrants having lost a mammoth 462kgs of fat between them. The top eight have lost between 22.6 percent and 50 percent of their bodyweight to squeeze their way into the finals.
Now in its 11th year, the annual competition seeks South Africas most successful pet slimmer - a previously portly pet that has reached its target weight on a veterinary supervised weight management programme.
The contest aims to highlight the problem of pet obesity and the associated health risks. Research by Hills indicates that only 12.5 percent of dog owners and 20 percent of cat owners consider their pets to be overweight. Yet veterinarians say pet obesity is reaching epidemic proportions and up to 50 percent of pets they see weigh too much for their own good.
Overweight pets are simply less healthy and more likely to develop diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, warns Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary consultant to Hills Pet Nutrition. Furthermore, being overweight will exacerbate conditions such as joint disease, making it more painful and disabling for the pet.
Selecting the finalists has been tough this year and there have been a record number of entries, said Rina Cronwright, managing director of Hills Pet Nutrition and one of the competition judges. The striking before and after photos and stories of happier and healthier pets confirms the value of the Hills Pet Slimmer of the Year competition in helping tackle the pet obesity problem.
Currently Cronwright and her team are travelling around the country to meet each finalist, owner and vet. The winner, to be announced in late November, will receive three months supply of Hills pet food, and their owners will be treated to a luxury holiday in Mauritius.
Organisers say that the top slimmer is not necessarily the one that has lost the most weight. We are looking for a dog or cat that is in great physical condition and has lost kilos in a healthy way. The owner needs to be committed to their new lifestyle, and to not letting the weight pile back on. We’re also looking for a special bond between owner and animal, as well as a happy, well natured pet, says Cronwright.
Prisca, a Spaniel from Stilbaai (Western Cape), won in 2005. She lost over 52 percent of her bodyweight, going from an extremely obese 28kgs to a sleek 13.5kgs. Once too fat to walk a few metres, her owners said she now runs like the wind.
The 2006 finalists are:
- Bartlo Gericke, a Pug from Despatch (E Cape), who went from 14.4kgs to 9.3kgs
- Bella Steyn, a Boerbull / Rottweiler cross from Boksburg (Gauteng), who went from 44.8kgs to 31.5kgs
BELLA STEYN - BEFORE AND AFTER
- Bruno Naidoo, a Miniature Pinscher from Scottburgh (KZN), who went from 9.7kgs to 6.7kgs
- Cassie Swiegers, a Weimeraner from Pretoria (Gauteng), who went from 60.2kgs to 34.9kgs
- George Ovenstone, a Dachshund from Durban (KZN), who went from 16.5kgs to 8.8kgs
- Houdini Frylinck, a Jack Russell from Plumstead (Cape Town), who went from 17.8kgs to 8.9kgs
HOUDINI FRYLINCK - BEFORE AND AFTER
- Leeli Puler, a cat from Pietermaritzburg (KZN) who went from 5.3kgs to 4.1kgs
- Lucy Gossman, a Golden Labrador from Tokai (Cape Town) who went from 47.6kgs to 31.7kgs
For more information about the Hills Pet Slimmer programme chat to your vet or call the Hills Pet Careline toll free on (0800) 228 783.