A PODGY Wirral pet is fighting the flab in a charity’s national slimming competition for pets.
Border Collie Merlin packed on the pounds four years ago after being neutered and is now classed as morbidly obese.
The 10-year-old weighs 42.2kg – more than twice as heavy as a healthy dog of his breed and size.
Merlin, who lives in Wirral with owner Victoria Rodgers, is one of 18 finalists chosen to take part in the PDSA’s annual Pet Fit Club.
He has been put on a strict diet and fitness plan for the next six months.
Victoria, 35, who also owns a four-year-old Boxer Pagan, said: “Over the past four years the weight has been creeping on after he was neutered and in the past year he’s particularly piled it on because of his arthritis.
“Merlin is the perfect gentleman.
“He’s very loving and he’s got his quirky ways as he likes to chase reflections and tries to eat the vacuum cleaner when it’s turned on.
“When it comes to food he likes biscuits – digestives are his favourites.
“He’ll eat anything if given the chance – including sweets!
“He will sit and beg but I’ve stopped giving into him now.”
Merlin’s ideal weight is 20kg but he has been given a target of 30kg to reach by the end of the challenge.
He will be helped by vets from the PDSA who will monitor his progress.
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon Stephen McArdle said: “The good news is it’s never too late to achieve positive change and improve a pet’s lifestyle.
“We’re confident that Merlin will have a slim-line figure and a new lease of life by the end of the competition thanks to his strict diet and new exercise plan.”