Pooch beats battle of bulge

A PORT Elizabeth pooch that has been fighting the flab for seven months has been chosen as a finalist in the Hill's Pet Slimmer of the Year competition after shedding almost 10kg.

The thoroughbred boxer dropped from an unflattering 44kg to a more hound-like 34.5kg.

Preston's weight-loss regimen began after his owner, pharmacist John McKay, 42, took the bulging boxer to the vet for his annual check-up and vaccination.

The vet, from the Kragga Kamma Animal Clinic, told McKay his then three-year-old dog was overweight and suggested he go on the Hill's diet.

An unimpressed Preston, who sensed that his days of treats and food scraps were coming to an end, was then enrolled in Hill's Pet Slimmer programme.

"It was tough for him the first few days as we reduced his food portions," McKay said. "I also started exercising him more."

Preston lost weight steadily, coming in lighter at every weigh-in.

"It was never really about the competition, it was about him and his health," McKay said.

Although he was not sure how Preston piled on the kilograms so quickly, he suspected it could have been the table scraps and treats he was being given.

McKay also has a sneaking suspicion that Preston used to snack on his sleeker 28kg sister's pellets.

He now watches over the two dogs when they eat to make sure Preston does not try to sneak a few extra pellets on the side.

McKay said a slimmer and trimmer Preston, now four, had recovered a lot of the pep he lost as he gained weight.

The normal weight for a boxer is between 25kg and 30kg on average, but McKay said 34kg was the ideal weight for a dog of Preston's size, according to the vet.

Preston stands to win R5000 if he wins the title.