Dieting goes to the dogs

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.

One of the contestants is Drufus Schaillee, a Poodle cross from Paarl went from 20kg to 12.8kg losing 36% of his bodyweight.

Now in its fourteenth year the 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 a veterinary supervised weight-loss programme. These are run on similar principles to Weigh-Less 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 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.

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.

Hill's Pet Slimmer of the Year finalists for 2011 are:

  • Buddy Knoesen, a Dachshund from Bloemfontein went from 13kg to 7kg, losing 46% of his bodyweight.
  • Drufus Schaillee, a Poodle cross from Paarl went from 20kg to 12.8kg losing 36% of his bodyweight.
  • Gizmo Rees, a cat from Eldoraigne, Pretoria, went from 6.4kg to 4.9kg losing 23% of its bodyweight.
  • Gus Smith, a Boerboel from Cape Town, who was almost crippled before losing weight, went from 80kg to 68.15kg losing 15% of his bodyweight.
  • Harry Parkinson, a Pug from Durbanville Hills, Cape Town went from 14.4kg to 11.5kg losing 20% of his bodyweight and no longer overheating on walks.
  • Jessie Randelhoff, a Jack Russell from Montclair, KwaZulu-Natal went from 6.5kg to 5kg, losing 23% of her bodyweight.
  • Max Schultz, an American Staffordshire from Glenashley, KZN went from 43kg to 26kg losing 40% of his bodyweight.
  • Miekie Ochs, a Dachshund from Swakopmund, Namibia went from 9.9kg to 6.8kg losing 31% of her bodyweight.
  • Sally Gibson, a Dachshund from Sunninghill, JHB went from 11.5kg to 8.4kg losing 27% of her bodyweight.
  • Yogi Kent, a Staffie from Wierda Park, Pretoria went from 27.8kg to 18.6kg 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.

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