January is a popular month for new setting health and fitness goals, but for one obese dog, a change in diet couldn’t come soon enough.
Poor Nelly was found tied up in a park with a note that read ‘sorry’ before she was brought to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London. The 10-year-old Bulldog weighed a staggering 32 kilograms, around 10 kilograms above the healthy weight for a female Bulldog, and weighed the same as the average 10-year-old child.
During her stay at Battersea Nelly underwent surgery to open up her airways, as she was having difficulty breathing – a common problem amongst flat-faced breeds. The charity’s vets also believe her weight is likely to have hindered her breathing further, and made it difficult for her to exercise.
As part of National Obesity Awareness Week (14-20 January), Battersea hopes stories like Nelly’s can help warn pet owners of the problems that obesity causes.
Battersea vet Claire Turner says, “The most common reason that pets become overweight is eating too much food and not getting enough exercise.
“Much like humans, pet calorie intake and expenditure need to be balanced to maintain a healthy weight. Nelly’s been on a strict diet and a gentle exercise regime at Battersea, as we need to help her peel off the pounds, while being careful with her breathing. Pet obesity is something we see a lot here at Battersea, and research shows more than half of British dogs are overweight, so this is something every pet owner needs to be aware of.
“Pet obesity can cause serious health issues, so – if you think your cat or dog might be overweight – it’s best to consult your vet, who will be able to assess your pet and advise you on how to help them lose the extra pounds.”
After recovering, Nelly has found her happy ending and has been rehomed by Roz Funnell in Hertfordshire. Roz says, “After losing my old Battersea dog, Millie, to a heart attack last year and then having a hip replacement in the summer, I was in absolutely no rush to rehome another dog. But, on a visit to Battersea with my nephew in November I saw Nelly walk past, and it was love at first sight.
“When I got the call to say that she was medically cleared to be rehomed I was absolutely over the moon. I’ve been waiting for her for such a long time, but it was so worth it. All of the staff at Battersea have done an excellent job of looking after her, making sure that she was healthy enough to finally come home.
“I have a fantastic vet who will help me set a diet plan for Nelly, and hopefully with some gentle exercise we can both get a little bit fitter together!”