There are few things cuter than a roly-poly Pug or chubby Dachshund feet. Problems start to form when those few extra pounds morph from adorable love handles to debilitating animal obesity. Animals are not immune to obesity or the health problems that come along with the extra poundage. Obesity is a tough battle, especially when you aren’t able to control your own food intake. The animals below each went on the journey to battle their obesity and come out on the other side; no small feat when you don’t have opposable thumbs.
10. Daisy the Bulldog
Daisy the Bulldog from Middlesborough, England was up to sixty-two pounds when her owner Gillian Turrell decided it was time for Daisy to get back her girlish figure. Turrell noted Daisy had been struggling to get up the stairs with her old vigor and the car harness could not longer fit around her ample figure. When the Middleborough Pet Fit Club challenge came about, it was the perfect opportunity for Turrell to get Daisy back into shape under vet supervision. Turrell made previous attempts to motivate Daisy into diet and exercise, but Daisy’s bulldog craftiness prevented any progress, going so far as to jump into strangers’ cars in an effort to get a ride home from the park. Through the Pet Fit Club, Daisy managed to lose seventeen and a half pounds and gain back her waistline along with increased life expectancy and more energy.
9. Kale Chips the Beagle
At his heaviest, Kale Chips the beagle had reached an unbelievable eighty-five pounds. Since his breed is expected to be in the twenty-eight pound range, Kale Chips qualified as wildly obese. Knowing Kale Chips’ situation needed immediate attention, the Chicago, Illinois shelter workers contacted One Tail at a Time Dog Rescue; the volunteers at the rescue took on the challenge and optimistically gave him the Kale Chips name to mark the start of his weight loss journey. In order to transport Kale Chips to the rescue without damaging his joints, the volunteers used a wagon to get him from shelter to rescue. Teaming up with Honest Kitchen for a healthy diet and getting Kale Chips exercising with an underwater treadmill, One Tail at a Time got Kale Chips on his way to a better, healthier life. As of January 2015 Kale Chips had lost twenty-three pounds, with roughly thirty more pounds to go. Kale Chips has inspired The Team Kale Chips Challenge, motivating people to get into a more active lifestyle. In addition, Kale Chips is ready for adoption! See his adoption page here and his photo updates so far.
8. Fifi the Cat
You’d never know from seeing Fifi’s before picture that she used to be a kitten starving on the streets. Before entering her weight loss program, she was quite a formidable looking woman with a sneaky snack streak. Stealing bird food, conning neighbors into free meals, and gorging herself on her owner’s food were just some of the ways Fifi managed to pack on weight to reach twenty-one pounds. Even though Fifi was agile enough when it came to food, her owners knew they needed to help her before it was too late. They joined the UK Pet Fit Club and after restricting her eating habits with a veterinarian’s help, Fifi was able to lose 22% of her body weight. She is now much more active and playful, though her owners have noted she’s much more sassy as well.
7. Rocco the English Bull Terrier
You’d never know that English Bull Terriers are capable of the “Bully Dance” when looking at Rocco back in 2009. His posture and ample belly were enough to bum you out and were proof positive what being overweight feels like for both pets and humans. After attending the prestigious Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic in Liverpool, England with his owners, Rocco has lost a significant amount of weight and now stands tall (and his collar is finally visible!)
6. Ruby the Jack Russell
Before Ruby was the 2013 Pet Slimming Champion of the year, she was a lone Jack Russell stray on the streets of England without a home. When she initially arrived at the shelter, she was underweight with little other backstory. Her new owners adopted her and her worry about where her next meal was coming from was well in the past. Understandably, Ruby’s new family found her hard to resist and made sure she was well fed to a fault. Before they knew it, Ruby was having difficulty getting around and could no longer jump up onto the sofa unassisted. The weight gain happened slowly and before they knew it, Ruby had reached just over twenty pounds. On her small Jack Russell frame, the extra weight was quite stunning. It was at this time that Ruby joined the Pet Fit Club challenge. Over the course of six months, Ruby successfully lost one-third of her bodyweight through simple diet and exercise. Her owner noted, “…now she’s like a puppy again and loves to run on the beach.” Now Ruby has the good life along with a healthy waist!
5. Skinny the cat
A stray Texas tabby cat managed to beef up on the streets of Dallas without an owner. Surviving on the streets, Skinny had made it up to forty-two pounds before a Dallas shelter scooped him up. Initially Skinny lost seven pounds through a special diet to increase his metabolism and he was ready for a family. While he was up for adoption, the vet treating Skinny realized she had become attached to Skinny and made their connection official. She adopted Skinny and continued to treat him for his weight, bringing him down to an amazing twenty-two pounds, nearly to his goal weight. Because Skinny’s love of food lives on, his new owner, Barton, keeps up his diet and exercise regimen. Skinny is now a twenty-two pound city kitty living in Dallas with a whole family to keep track of. Skinny now tends to Barton, her husband, three children, dog, and additional cat now and continues to live the good life while staying truly Skinny.
4. Stone Head the Cat
Former Turkish fat cat Stone Head had reached his literal tipping point. His owner realized Stone Head was in serious need of professional medical attention and brought him to a veterinarian for treatment. Put on a strict protein based diet and trimming down to one meal per day, Stone Head began to shed the pounds. No longer living off high fat foods and eating three times a day, Stone Head is down eleven pounds in four months, with about six pounds left until he reaches his ideal weight. Although his name, Stone Head, refers to a Turkish expression for a dumb person, he is well on his way to being a bright and healthier cat.
3. Dennis the Dachshund
There is something particularly alarming about seeing an obese dachshund and Dennis the dachshund is no exception. Since the ideal weight for a miniature dachshund is in the seven to twelve pound range, Dennis’ fifty-six pound body weight was quite shocking. When Dennis’ new owner Brooke Burton first saw Dennis at his incredible weight, she wasn’t even sure what breed of dog he was; weight had completely obscured any recognizable traits. Burton took ownership of Dennis at that time, determined to get him healthy and off his previous diet of White Castle burgers and pizza that had led to his debilitating condition. Previous to his diet, Dennis was having trouble walking and even breathing; dachshund’s short legs make any weight gain particularly brutal on their tiny joints, making his obesity life-threatening. Burton quickly put Dennis on a dry food diet devoid of fast food and made sure he had a steady exercise routine. After that, Dennis started dropping the pounds, breathing easier, and the standard dachshund sassiness began to appear. Due to the weight loss, Dennis began to trip over his own skin folds and was experiencing infections as a result of the dragging skin. Three surgeries and two years later, Dennis is now an unrecognizable twelve pounds total!
2. Obie the Dachshund
Not to be outdone, Obie is also a dachshund with an incredible weight loss story. A standard dachshund weighing seventy-seven pounds at his heaviest, this big man could barely walk. His extremely large belly and chest would drag on the ground when he waddled, leading to infections on his skin among his already existing walking and breathing issues. Obie also lived off a fast food human diet and quickly packed on the pounds. His owners relinquished him for a better, healthier life and Obie headed to Oregon for his fresh start. After starting a high protein dog food diet Obie began to slowly lose weight. Due to his extremely large size, Obie had to lose weight strictly from diet before safely beginning an exercise regimen. Months went by and Obie faithfully shed the weight. Forty pounds later, Obie was ready for his skin reduction surgery and nearly at his goal weight. At his last weigh-in, Obie was down to an impressive twenty-nine pounds, which is the sweet spot for standard dachshunds. Obie is now active, healthy, and sassy!
1. Poppy the Rabbit
Turns out that it’s not just cats and dogs that have weight issues; Poppy the rabbit from the United Kingdom had ballooned up to over seven pounds. While this may not seem like a hefty weight even for a rabbit, Poppy was still one third heavier than she should be for her breed. Like any pet, Poppy was susceptible to over-treating, with the main culprit being her love of popcorn. Her owner, Donna Manson, said that she especially liked to provide extra treats during cold winter months. Now that Poppy has committed to a healthy rabbit diet, she has slimmed down to a healthy weight.
Whether it’s a rabbit that loses a handful of pounds or a dachshund that sheds the equivalent of a small child, all these animals could definitely give The Biggest Losers a run for their money. All are equally impressive and took initiative from both owners and animal; sometimes it’s hard to resist those big round animal eyes but it can quickly turn into an obesity problem when left unchecked. Luckily these animals dodged an unfortunate, overweight end and can live healthier, happier lives.