HE WAS once a cuddly canine who was twice the size he should have been.
But now Max is a picture of health – and has been named one of the top dogs in the UK when it comes to slimming down.
The two-and-a-half-year-old cavalier King Charles spaniel had piled on the pounds after eating too much dog food, treats and leftovers.
A dog of his size and breed should normally weigh 18 pounds.
But Max was tipping the scales at 44lbs – more than three stone – and the struggle of coping with his increasing girth had left him with leg problems.
Owner Michael Stapleton, 42, of Clydebank Road, Buckland, said: ‘We’ve had him since he was a puppy and we had overfed him accidentally.
‘We had been giving him 600g of food because we had been wrongly reading the recommended feed on food packets.
‘He actually was supposed to be having 200g.
‘His extra weight meant he had reduced exercise and his leg problem meant it was really a Catch 22 situation.’
In a desperate bid to help Max lose weight and live a healthier life, the family enrolled him onto a fat-fighting diet and exercise plan.
The plan – run by the PDSA Pet Aid Hospital, in Durley Avenue, Waterlooville – began in December.
Within six months Max has lost 9lbs – about nine bags of sugar.
‘I’m so thrilled at the change in Max,’ added Michael, who works as a mechanic.
‘Last November we literally had to force him out of the front door for walkies, and even when we did he could barely last 15 minutes around the park.
‘Now we’re doing two, hour-and-a-half long walks a day and he loves every minute.
‘He also enjoys playing ball in the garden and is much happier since he started losing weight.
‘Visitors and friends have been really shocked at his transformation.
‘His shape has really changed and people have also commented on how much more active and energetic he is.
‘We’re so grateful to PDSA for all their help. Staff were always on hand with advice and encouragement. The regular weigh-ins helped keep us on track and we never gave in to pleading eyes begging for a treat.’
And the pound-shedding pup came joint third in the PDSA’s national slimming competition.
Shane Carmichael, senior vet at the Waterlooville practice, said: ‘The transformation in Max is fantastic. He is like a different dog, in personality, body shape and health. I’m sure he’ll continue to lose weight and live a longer, happier life as a result.’