ARARAT - A bunch of portly pooches and curvy cats lined up for a Biggest Loser style weigh-in last month.
The Ararat Veterinary Clinic in conjunction with Royal Canin are currently running a program to help overweight dogs and cats lose the flab through a nutrition and exercise program.
At a weigh-in at Alexandra Hall the owners of seven dogs and one cat signed up for the program, however, anyone who believes their dog or cat could do with trimming down for their health can still join the program by contacting the Ararat Veterinary Clinic.
Obesity is the most common form of malnutrition seen in pets and according to the Australian Veterinary Association around 44 per cent of dogs and 40 per cent of cats are either overweight or obese.
Obesity in pets contributes to a number of health problems, including decreasing lifespan and quality of life, arthritis, spinal problems and other joint diseases, breathing difficulties, diabetes, cancer, heart failure, difficulty moving and exercise intolerance.
Regardless of the disease involved, obesity will decrease your pet's lifespan.
Ararat Veterinary Clinic vet nurse Jess Stoneman said in line with The Biggest Loser currently screening on TV and talks with animal nutrition company Royal Canin, the clinic thought it would be a good idea to incorporate animals as well.
"A few of the dogs (who weighed in) were quite obese, but all are considered obese in some way," she said.
While the dogs and cats will be on the diet, Ms Stoneman said it is all about educating their owners to provide better nutrition for their pets.
"A massive part is owner compliance. We know it's hard; they are hungry... they look at you with those big brown eyes... you wonder if they can eat the same thing every day... is my pet going to hate me? But it's all about training the owners."
The program provides the animals with a target weight and by setting small goals along the way the pets can win encouragement prizes such as exercise toys.
"In the end, its all about the pets living longer and being healthy," Ms Stoneman said.
The pets will be weighed in regularly at the Ararat Vet Clinic where advice will be provided on good nutrition.
"We're not judgemental, we really want to help," Ms Stoneman said.
"It's all about lifestyle, minimising food and getting a bit of exercise."
Contact the Ararat Vet Clinic on 5352 7069 for further information.