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Dieting goes to the dogs – pet slimmer of the year

It seems dieting may be going to the dogs, with nine dogs and one cat in the finals for this year’s Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year title. Top dog (or cat) will be the one that receives the most votes on the website before midnight on 31 October. It’s weighty competition; the ten finalists have lost, on average, almost 30% of their bodyweight and each has had an inspiring weight loss journey.

Now in its fourteenth year the Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year competition takes place to raise awareness of the dangers of pet obesity and show what a difference healthy weight loss can make to an overweight pet. The winner can be a dog or a cat, but to qualify they need to have reached their goal weight on the Hill’s Pet Slimmer programme – a veterinary supervised weight-loss programme run by more than a hundred veterinary clinics in South Africa and Namibia. (Participating practices are detailed on

From the hundreds of pets that signed up for the Hill’s Pet Slimmer programme during the past year, the finalists were chosen on a combination of factors – total kilograms lost, percentage body weight lost, the weight loss story and before and after photographic evidence. “Having lost their excess kilos these pets enjoy life more, every one is a deserving winner,” said Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor to Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

South African vets say that about half their patients weigh more than is healthy. Yet a recent survey* of South African pet owners found that one in five people mistakenly believe an overweight pet is “happy, healthy” and “cute”. The reality is fat pets tip the scales in the direction of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.

The finalists all lost weight by eating carefully measured rations of Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d, a food clinically proven to help obese pets lose weight.  They may be allowed occasional snacks, but only healthy options; “Drufus really likes his morning carrot,” said Jane Schaillee, owner of one of the finalists.

For more advice on how to help your pet rediscover its sleeker silhouette, or to find a participating Hill’s Pet Slimmer clinic in your area log

2011 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year finalists:

  • Max Schultz, an American Staffordshire from Glenashley, KZN went from 43kgs to 26kgs losing 40% of his bodyweight.
  • Jessie Randelhoff, a Jack Russell from Montclair, KwaZulu-Natal went from 6.5kgs to 5kgs, losing 23% of her bodyweight.
  • Gus Smith, a Boerboel from Kenridge, Cape Town went from 80kgs to 68.15kgs losing 15% of his bodyweight.
  • Gizmo Rees, a cat from Eldoraigne, Pretoria, went from 6.4kgs to 4.9kgs losing 23% of its bodyweight.
  • Buddy Knoesen, a Dachshund from Bloemfontein went from 13kgs to 7kgs, losing 46% of his bodyweight.
  • Sally Gibson, a Dachshund from Sunninghill, JHB went from 11.5kgs to 8.4kgs losing 27% of her bodyweight.
  • Miekie Ochs, a Dachshund from Swakopmund, Namibia went from 9.9kgs to 6.8kgs losing 31% of her bodyweight.
  • Drufus Schaillee, a Poodle cross from Paarl went from 20kgs to 12.8kgs losing 36% of his bodyweight.
  • Harry Parkinson, a Pug from Durbanville Hills, Cape Town went from 14.4kgs to 11.5kgs losing 20% of his bodyweight.
  • Yogi Kent, a Staffie from Wierda Park, Pretoria went from 27.8kgs to 18.6kgs losing 33% of his bodyweight.

The top cat or dog will hold the 2011 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year title and their owner will win a holiday to the value of R25, 000.

Log onto to cast your vote.

The South African Healthy Pet Survey is an online consumer survey of South Africa pet owners conducted in Spring 2010 which had 1,134 respondents.

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