HER penchant for roast dinners has made her the rolliest sausage dog in Hampshire – but now she’s going to a slimming club.
Jemma, the dachshund-Jack Russell cross, has won a place in the PDSA’s national pet slimming competition, Pet Fit Club, run by the vet charity.
She was up against thousands of entries from across the country and she will now battle the bulge with 15 other super-sized pets, including Hooch, a 13st Rottweiler.
At 1st 12lb Jemma, from Cosham, may sound small in comparison, but she weighs nearly twice her recommended healthy weight.
Jemma’s owner Cara Hooper said the porky pooch starting piling on the pounds around four years ago when Cara started to have children.
The 46-year-old said: ‘I bought her when she was a puppy – she was my baby before I had my children.
‘She has stayed with me ever since, she’s so good with the kids. She’s part of the family.’
Cara said her two children – Ryan, four, and India, two – often dropped her titbits when they were having dinner.
But she admits that Jemma used to sometimes get her own roast dinner on a Sunday.
When family and friends began to comment, and Jemma began to struggle getting around and started snoring loudly, Cara took her to the PDSA, where they recommended she apply to fit club.
‘I felt so guilty when they said she was twice the size she should be and I knew immediately I had to make drastic changes,’ she said.
Jemma was put on a diet and she will take part in an exercise plan overseen by veterinary experts at PDSA.
If she loses the biggest percentage of weight, she’ll get a year’s free pet food from Hill’s and Burgess and a pet-friendly break, sponsored by Cottages4You.
Also taking part in the biggest loser competition is fat cat Ruby, who lives in Surrey but will attend Portsmouth PDSA Pet Hospital for her diet.
I felt so guilty when they said she was twice the size she should be and I knew immediately I had to make drastic changesCara Hooper, from Cosham
The nine-year-old was adopted from a rescue centre and used to weigh a healthy 9lb, but has grown to weigh more than 1st 3lb.
Charley Gunner, a PDSA vet nurse at Portsmouth PDSA, said: ‘The pets in this year’s Pet Fit Club competition are taking the first step towards a healthier and happier new life.’
PDSA Pet Fit Club was launched in 2005 and has already helped 63 dogs, 26 cats and six rabbits lose a total of 60 stone 6lb – equivalent to 761 tins of dog food. For more go to petfitclub.org.uk.
Warnings over pet obesity
FOUR in five vets have seen an increase in pet obesity cases in the last two years, according to the PDSA.
Charley Gunner, a PDSA vet nurse in Portsmouth, said: ‘Pet obesity levels are on the rise and it’s important to tackle this issue head-on. Owners should follow guidelines when feeding their pets, not just guess or go on past experience.
‘It sounds obvious but if pets eat too much and don’t do enough exercise, then they will pile on the weight and risk developing serious diseases like heart disease.’
Charley said that anyone concerned about their pets’ weight should speak to their veterinary practice who can provide expert advice and support.