A Durban Dachshund, once known as George the Fat Porge, is the 2006 Hills Pet Slimmer of the Year.
The now gorgeous George has lost almost half his bodyweight (46.7%), and shrunk from an obese 16.5kgs to a sleek 8.8kgs. George beat off seriously weighty competition, from a record number of entrants from South Africa and Namibia, who, between them, lost almost half a ton (462kgs) of fat.
The annual Hills Pet Slimmer of the Year competition highlights the health risks of pet obesity. Vets estimate that about half the pets they see weigh more than they should and warn that overweight pets are at higher risk of serious diseases including arthritis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
George paid a visit to the vet, suffering from a painful shoulder, and veterinarian Dr Peter Carey (of Glenashley Veterinary Clinic) recommended a supervised diet programme. He advised owners Christy and Mark Ovenstone that George weighed double his optimum weight, and said that this could cause a heart attack or damage his spine. We were very upset, said Christy. We just had not realised how dangerous it was for George to be fat.
George, seven years old, had steadily piled on the pounds over the years said Christy. He was always a greedy little dog, gobbling down his own and then our other dogs food. He would eat anything, even an onion if you gave him one.
Christy says that George lost about a kilo a month eating a special Hills reduction diet for obese dogs (Hills Prescription Diet r/d) which contains a special fibre to help the pet feel fuller for longer. At first when I dished him up this small cup of pellets he would look at me as if to say so where is the main course? But he loved the taste and would wolf down each meal, which we measured carefully to make sure he was getting exactly what he needed.
We watched him like a hawk, and he kept on losing weight and getting livelier and more energetic. The only time he did not lose was during avocado season, as he would pig out on any avos that fell in the garden.
Christy says that George the Fat Porges tummy dragged on the floor, and he used to sleep all day in the shade, unable to jump on the beds or couch. These days he can jump with ease and runs around the garden chasing birds, moles and dragonflies. He no longer limps and is full of life. He is like a puppy again.
Rina Cronwright, managing director of Hills Pet Nutrition South Africa and one of the competition judges, said We were looking for a well-natured dog or cat that had lost weight in a healthy way. George has a perfect body and glows with health. His transformation from fat and lethargic to slim and energetic is the ideal example of how beneficial losing excess weight can be. He also has a wonderful, friendly personality, is adored by his owners, and acts every inch the winner.
George has won three months supply of Hills pet food and his owners will be heading off for a luxury holiday in Mauritius.
If you think your pet might be overweight ask your vet for a free weight check. Entries are now open for the 2007 Hills Pet Slimmer of the Year competition and close on 31 August 2007.
- The Hills Pet Slimmer competition is open to cats and dogs from South Africa and Namibia that reach their target weight on a veterinary supervised weight loss programme.
- Entries are open for the 2007 competition until end August.
The 2006 finalists were:
- 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
- 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
- Winner - 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
- 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