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Dieting goes to the dogs

hills-facebook-ad-1200x628_4Obesity is a massive problem in South Africa, with up to 70% of women and a third of men classified as overweight or obese. And it’s not only a problem for people – it seems the four-legged members of the family are also affected. South African vets say more than half the patients they treat are overweight.


“The cause is basically too much energy in, too little energy out,” says Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa. “Pets are being overfed and under-exercised.” Research clearly demonstrates that overweight pets have shorter lives and are at higher risk of arthritis, urinary conditions, skin problems, heart disease and cancer. If you think fat pets are happier, think again – overweight pets have been shown to be less happy.


In a bid to tackle this growing problem, hundreds of vets around the country run special Pet Slimmer weight-management clinics, with more than 15, 000 dogs and cats having joined the battle of the bulge in the last five years.  “The transformation truly amazes me. Limping pets start walking normally again, breathing difficulties become a problem of the past, they become more energetic, playful and mobile,” says Pretoria-based veterinary nurse Sister Cindy du Preez, who has helped hundreds of patients successfully shed their excess kilos through the Pet Slimmer programme.


The US Association for Pet Obesity Prevention cites a ‘fat gap’ as a key factor in the obesity epidemic – most owners don’t believe their pet is overweight or understand the serious health problems that can create. “Nine out of ten owners mistakenly think their pet’s size is ‘normal’. The truth is we’ve forgotten what a healthy, lean pet looks like,” says Dr Fyvie.


Rather than putting your pet at risk of obesity-related diseases, get a professional, objective opinion. Find a participating #PetSlimmer practice this October on and book a weight assessment (which are often offered free of charge – check with your practice).


Who will be SA’s Top Pet Slimmer?


The search is on for South Africa’s top pet slimmer. Ten finalists have been selected and the winner – the 2016 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year – will be announced on 1 November. The judging panel – Abi Ray (ex East Coast Radio presenter and MC); trend analyst Dion Chang (Flux Trends); Graeme Richards (SABC 3 Expresso Breakfast Show); Liezel van der Westhuizen (vlogger, KFm and TV presenter); Carolyn Herrick and Dr Guy Fyvie (both Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa) – are currently weighing-up the finalists to decide which pet’s story and images is most deserving of the coveted title.


Strutting their stuff on the dog-walk (no cat-walk for these proud pooches):


  • Ari, a Dachshund from Eldorainge, Pretoria, owned by Delia Lombard, who lost 3.9 kgs under the care of Bakenkop Animal Clinic, going from 12.6 kgs to 8.7 kgs (31% of bodyweight).
  • Basil, a Miniature Schnauzer from Pretoria, owned by Hannelie Boshoff, who lost 6.6 kgs under the care of Bakenkop Animal Clinic, going from 15.6 kgs to 9 kgs (42% of bodyweight).
  • Dexter, a Dachshund from Randburg, Johannesburg, owned by Simone Anderson, who lost 2.6 kgs under the care of Boskruin Veterinary Clinic, going from 5.7 kgs to 3.1 kgs (46% of bodyweight).
  • Eddie, a Beagle from Bellville, Cape Town, owned by Hanlie and Alfons Joubert, who lost 4.3 kgs under the care of Tygerberg Animal Hospital – Bellville, going from 22.4 kgs to 18.1 kgs (19% of bodyweight).
  • Gina, a Jack Russell from Vredendal, Western Cape, owned by Marquerite Tamponi, who lost 3.5 kgs under the care of Boland Animal Clinic, going from 10.5 kgs to 7 kgs (33% of bodyweight).
  • Jess, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from Pretoria, owned by Mia Bosch, who lost 2.8 kgs under the care of Frystraat Animal Hospital, going from 25.1 kgs to 22.3 kgs (11% of bodyweight).
  • Maggy, a Pug from Centurion, owned by Wendy Graham, who lost 2.9 kgs under the care of Zwartkop Animal Clinic, going from 10.8 kgs to 7.8 kgs (27% of bodyweight).
  • Matie, a Chihuahua from Umtentweni, Port Shepstone (KwaZulu-Natal), owned by Katarina de Afonseca, who lost 1.2 kgs under the care of Bulwer Street Veterinary Hospital, going from 5.5 kgs to 4.3 kgs (22% of bodyweight).
  • Shanna, a Rottweiler from Somerset West, Western Cape, owned by Desiree Nolte, who lost 9.2 kgs under the care of Strand Animal Hospital, going from 55 kgs to 45.8 kgs (17% of bodyweight).
  • Toki, a Corgi from Parys (Free State), owned by Pieter & Johanne Barnard, who lost 5 kgs under the care of Parys Animal Hospital, going from 20.9 kgs to 15.9kgs (24% of bodyweight).


Be inspired by their tales of transformation and before and after photos on until 31 October.


As well as winning the battle of the bulge, the overall top dog – the 2016 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year – wins R10, 000 prize money, with the two runners up receiving R7, 000 and R5, 000 respectively. All ten finalists win a professional family photo shoot, a bottle of celebratory champagne and three months supply of their favourite Hill’s pet food.


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Meet SA’s top #PetSlimmer finalists and be inspired by their tales of transformation –

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