A beagle who used to stop halfway up the stairs because he was too fat has been crowned the winner of a pet slimming competition.
Alfie lost more than a third of his weight in just six months – and has been transformed from a whopping 4st 10lb (30kg) to a more modest 3st (20kg).
The dieting dog faced stiff competition in the PDSA Pet Fit Club. One of his rivals was Lola the rabbit, who had managed to lose almost a quarter of her body weight.
Alfie’s owner Emily Simcox, a 25-year-old from Middlesbrough, admitted giving him treats to show she loved him.
She said: “He couldn’t even walk up the stairs; he’d struggle halfway up and then had to stop for a rest before getting to the top.
“On walks, he would sluggishly walk towards a ball we’d thrown and often wouldn’t bother even trying to bring it back.
“But since being on the diet his tail hasn’t stopped wagging.
“He leaps and bounds, and is so full of energy.”
“Alfie is proof that change is possible – we’ll never look back.”
Alfie’s transformation was down to sticking to a strict diet – and his owner showing him tough love by refusing to succumb to his demands for more food.
But Ms Simcox said it wasn’t always easy.
“I was making a cheese sandwich and left it on the kitchen counter,” she said.
“I walked back in the room to find Alfie licking his lips, and the cheese sandwich gone.”
Alfie’s weight loss was supervised by PDSA vet nurse Steph Williams, who said he was now “unrecognisable from the dog that waddled into our hospital for his first weigh-in”.
She added: “He’s much healthier and will be able to enjoy a much happier life.”
According to the PDSA, up to 40% of the nation’s dogs are fat – but help is on hand for hounds shedding pounds.