Fat pets are gearing up to fight the flab in a national slimming competition.
A 22lb cat and 45lb dog are among the 11 finalists in this year’s pet charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) contest.
To win the title the five dogs and six cats, who have a combined weight of 192lbs (87kg, or 290 tins of pet food), will have to endure a strict diet and exercise regime.
They risk diabetes, heart disease and arthritis if they do not shape up, the charity warned.
Elaine Pendlebury, senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA Pet Fit Club, said: “Overweight pets are less mobile, less willing to play and more likely to develop a number of serious health conditions and have a reduced life expectancy.
“The good news is it’s never too late to achieve positive change with the help of your veterinary practice.”
A survey by the animal charity shows that one in three dogs and one in four cats in the UK are now classed as overweight.
Pets who carry more than 20% of their ideal body weight are classed as obese, while those carrying 50% or more are deemed morbidly obese.
Dr Alex German, an animal obesity specialist from the University of Liverpool Veterinary School, said: “PDSA is doing great work in highlighting this important animal welfare issue via its slimming competition.
“It’s vital that owners recognise their pet’s weight problem, seek veterinary advice and do something about it.”