A cheese-loving Jack Russell Terrier cross called Gromit is still desperately awaiting his Wallace after six months at the Brands Hatch site of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Staff at the rescue centre are hoping a starring role in the third series of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, airing on ITV this week (Thursday 4 September) will help him find some creature comforts in a new home.
Nine-year-old Gromit was brought to Battersea Brands Hatch in March because his owner was working increasingly long hours and couldn’t spend any time with him. A normal Jack Russell weighs 7lbs, but he weighed in at a mammoth 14lbs.
Just like his famous Wallace and Gromit namesake, Gromit had been overindulging on his favourite food – cheese! But he was so overweight his tongue began to turn blue when he was out on walks – a sign his blood wasn’t able to circulate properly because of his bulk.
Shaun Opperman, Veterinary Director at Battersea says: “People sometimes think they are being kind by giving their dog lots of treats. But being overweight has the same health repercussions for dogs as for humans. It’s bad for their day-to-day wellbeing and can considerably shorten their lives. Gromit was morbidly obese when he arrived at Battersea and it’s only by sticking to a healthy exercise regime and a controlled diet that he’s starting to get fitter. We really hope he’s is rehomed by people willing to continue the good work we’ve started.”
Allowing a dog to become overweight isn’t kindness. Here are Battersea Canine Welfare Trainer Jenny Brown’s top tips for keeping your dog fit and healthy:
- Use food as a reward during training so that your dog is exercising as well as eating
- Give your dog food in interactive toys, such as a Kong, so they have to work for it and it lasts longer
- Don’t ever give your dog human treats like chocolate, biscuits or cake – they might like eating it but it’s really bad for them.
- Measure your dog. Even small increases in size represent added weight and pressure on its vital organs
- If you have more than one dog, or a cat, watch it while it eats – to make sure it only eats its own food.
To find out more about Gromit or any of the dogs waiting for a home at Battersea Brands Hatch, call 0843 509 4444 or visit www.battersea.org.uk