‘Puffer fish’ dog gets new lease of life

‘Puffer fish’ dog gets new lease of life

Lily, a Jack Russell-type dog who was described as resembling a puffer fish due to her size, is enjoying life after slimming down to a more healthy weight. 

Eight-year-old Lily was twice her ideal weight as she was being overfed by her former owner and not getting enough exercise. She was found to be almost twice the weight she should have been when the RSPCA intervened, with sores on her belly as it rubbed against the floor when she walked.

Inspector Demi Hodby tried to work with Lily’s owner to help get her down to a healthy weight and give her a better quality of life. The owner was unable to cope and eventually signed her over to the RSPCA. 

Inspector Hodby said, “When I went to see her I couldn’t believe her size – she reminded me of a puffer fish. She was blown up like a balloon. She couldn’t even walk to my van so I had to carry her.

“Lily had no quality of life and was in real danger of dying prematurely from heart failure so she really did need help.”

With the help of a special diet and gentle exercise, Lily began losing weight. As she began looking less like a puffer fish and more like a healthy dog, she caught the eye of her new owner. Ruth adopted Lily in May and took her home at a much a healthier 7.7 kilos, down from 13.7 kilos when she was taken in. At that point Lily was able to move around, much more active and happier.

Ruth said, “My other pet dog died so I was looking for an older companion and I came across Lily and was more than happy to adopt her.

“She is a lovely girl – she likes to cuddle and sleep on the sofa – but has also found out how to run now so loves to have a little trot around.

“She is still on a special diet and seems to be really happy and settled. She is a fantastic dog and I am so pleased to care for her.”

Lily’s state was extreme, but pet obesity is a growing issue, with some breeds – including Pugs, Beagles and Golden retrievers – particularly at risk.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said, “Pet obesity is a serious welfare issue affecting a large proportion of our pets today. Recent studies have suggested that around half of all pet dogs are overweight and this can cause serious health and welfare issues for them such as heart disease and diabetes.

“Obesity can affect all types of pets and the main cause is from eating too much or not exercising enough. As a rough guide for dogs and cats – you should be able to see and feel the outline of their ribs without excess fat covering them. Other tips are that you should be able to see and feel their waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above.

“Anyone who is concerned about their pet’s weight should speak to their vet for advice.”

Images by RSPCA

Alessandra Pacelli

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