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Furry fat fighters

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Highlighting the growing trend in overweight or obese pets, PDSA (the UK’s leading veterinary charity) has announced the return of its annual Pet Fit Club, now in its seventh year.

ABOVE: This King Charles Spaniel hopes to lose his 'Jumbo Jack' nickname

Somewhat akin to ITV’s The Biggest Loser, the PDSA Pet Fit Club aims to help selected pets to slim down to a healthier weight and improve their life expectancy. This year’s finalists include five ‘mega moggies’, eleven ‘huge hounds’ and even two ‘rotund rabbits’, who will all undergo a major lifestyle transformation as they embark on a strict six month diet and exercise plan overseen by PDSA vets and nurses. Each animal doing battle with the bulge can be sponsored with donations going to the PDSA charity.

BELOW: Sneaky Fifi charmed an elderly neighbour into giving her extra treats - and is now 107% overweight

Although PDSA puts a humorous spin on the plight of its supersized finalists - for example, Maverick the cat has a “monster appetite” and is 85% overweight, while Samantha the rabbit “can’t hop to it” because she's carrying 32% extra weight - the Pet Fit Club carries a serious message, with research from the annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report finding that 12 million UK pets are being fed too many fatty treats, including takeaways, cheese, crisps and cakes, often on a daily basis, fuelling the UK pet obesity epidemic.

As with humans, overweight pets are at risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, and have a lower life expectancy than healthy pets. Definitely something that should make all pet owners paws for thought.

Find out more about PDSA's Pet Fit Club in the video below or head to pdsa.org.uk

ABOVE: Samantha the bulging bunny can't "hop to it"

What do you think? Are UK pet owners killing their animals with kindness and too many treats? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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