1. ITV Report

Fat rabbit and heavyweight bulldogs reach pet slimming finals

Two heavyweight American Bulldogs, from Liverpool, and an overweight rabbit from Blackpool have reached the finals of a national pet slimming competition.

American Bulldog Cilla weighs in at almost 55kg. Credit: PDSA
The bulldogs, from Liverpool, need to lose a combined 25kg. Credit: PDSA

Bulldogs Cilla and Shyla, who need to lose a total of nearly 25kg between them, will compete against 11 other fat pets, including a fat rabbit called Pebbles.

Bulldog Cilla, who is named after Cilla Black, weighs almost 55kg, while Shyla weighs just over 50kg.

The dogs are owned by a family from Anfield admit to having fed Cilla, 8, and Shyla, 5, too many treats in the past, until recently, following advice from vets.

Alan Thomas, 49, said the family used to give the dogs treats including crumpets, pasta and biscuits.

Cilla was actually underweight when the family adopted her from a rescue centre in Liverpool. The family says she was spoiled to make up for having such a rotten start to life after being abandoned.

As part of the Pet Fit Club, both dogs are embarking on a strict diet for six months alongside a specially tailored exercise programme.

Lisa Williams, Head Nurse at PDSA Pet Hospital, says pet obesity is a "serious issue" which puts millions of British pets at risk of numerous health conditions.

Pebbles is the only rabbit in the finals of the pet slimming competition. Credit: PDSA

Pebbles the rabbit, who was so overweight he could not hop, is the only bunny to compete against the other 12 fat pets.

He once weighed in at 4.5kg, making him more than 50% over his ideal weight of 3kg.

The three-year-old rabbit ballooned through a combination of poor quality rabbit food and his aversion to rain.

His owner, Christine Howard, 39, thought she was giving Pebbles heathly food. But, unbeknownst to her, she was feeding him high-sugar muesli-style food which was having a severe effect on his size.

During the winter months, Pebbles stayed inside due to his dislike of cold and wet weather, instead of running about in the garden.

As a result, Pebbles put on excess weight and began finding it difficult to groom himself. This lead to a condition commonly known as ’sticky bum syndrome’, which can cause serious problems if left untreated.

Since Christine put Pebbles on a better diet, the rabbit has lost almost a kilogram, weighing in at 3.6kg.

The rabbit is also embarking on a strict diet for six months alongside a specially tailored exercise programme.

Their competition...

Yorkshire puddings: Puff, from Sheffield and Lucy, right, from Bradford are fat cat finalists Credit: PDSA
TyTy the Chihuahua hates walkies, while Oscar, a curvy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, loves Sunday dinner leftovers Credit: PDSA

The winning pet, which will be announced at the end of the year, will win a year's supply of pet food and a pet friendly holiday.