Pooch a bit too poochy?

A golden retriever named Belle put on an extra 20 pounds recently, and her owner, Chris Murray, plans to sign the dog up for the “Biggest Loser: Pet Edition” at Tiara Rado Animal Hospital in Grand Junction. A final weigh-in is scheduled at the end of April to declare a winning cat and dog.

Losing a few pounds in the New Year can give you more energy and help you avoid obesity-related illnesses.

Those are benefits anyone can appreciate, whether they have a tail or not.

Tiara Rado Animal Hospital Manager Susan Kingsbury thought up the idea for a “Biggest Loser: Pet Edition” weight-loss competition after years of seeing chubby pets face increasing health problems.

The competition launches this month at Tiara Rado and is open to any cat or dog owner who brings in a pet for a check-up and a weigh-in.

All participating pets will be weighed and tested to make sure they’re healthy enough for the competition, which carries no additional fees.

The veterinarian who sees the animal will assign a weight-loss program that can include diet, more exercise, modified or restricted diet, or weight-loss supplements.

Pets will be weighed for the next few months, and a final weigh-in at the end of April will determine both a cat and a dog winner, based on which pet loses the largest percentage of body weight.

The winners will receive a $100 gift certificate for Tiara Rado services or products.

Kingsbury said she wanted to host the competition to give pet owners a way to make prioritizing a pet’s weight fun.

“I think it’s something people put on the back burner because they don’t think of their animals as being fat,” she said.

But extra pounds can be a cause for concern and lead to health issues, discomfort, joint issues and some diseases, according to Kingsbury.

“I would encourage them to think about how they’d feel with those extra 10 pounds, When we lose a couple pounds, we feel better. It makes animals feel better, too.”


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