TREATS heaped on Fudge the dog have tipped him over the scales.
Now the plump pet could be in the running for a competition to lose the pounds to win an award.
The Labrador-cross has piled on the weight after sneaking a host of goodies in addition to his feed, from pinching cream cakes from tables to scoffing chews given to him by neighbours of loving owner Olwen Heslop.
The nine-year-old, who is 50 per cent heavier than he should be, at 58kg, has been nominated for the PDSA’s Pet Fit Club, which will see the charity put him on a tailored diet and exercise programme overseen by the charity.
Olwen, 67, who lives in Humbledon with husband Phil, 58, was bought Fudge as a birthday present by daughter Heidi Barlow, 48, when her last dog Bess died at the age of 17.
Olwen, a volunteer at Humbledon Methodist Church and also mum to Carl Barlow, 46, and Trudy Edwards, 50, said: “He’s such a lovable dog.
“I want him to live for as long as possible and I don’t want him to suffer with any of the health issues that come with being overweight.
“He loves to run around but his weight means he’s not as quick as he used to be.
“Everybody absolutely loves him, the neighbours all give him chews and the only thing he doesn’t like is lettuce.
“They also give him chocolate, which he shouldn’t have at all, and he has sausage rolls and one day my husband left a cream cake on the table and when he went out the room, it had disappeared.
“We want him to be healthy, and he is at the moment, but he is overweight and we want him to be with us as long as he can.
“I did know he was overweight, but I took him to the vet a few weeks ago for his booster and he said ‘You do realise he’s overweight,’ and he said he could go in for this challenge.
“I’m looking forward to it, because I need to lose a bit of weight as well, so it will help me and I will help him.
“The PDSA has been marvellous, I’d be lost without them.
In 2013, Sunderland Jack Russell Ruby scooped the top title after she was nominated for the competition, with her owner Angela Martin helping to keep a watch over her restricted diet.
Angela had lavished attention on her after she was found underweight and roaming the streets.
This year’s competition comes as the PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report found four out of five veterinary professionals have seen an increase in pet obesity cases in the last two years.
While obesity is the number one concern among vets when it comes to man’s best friend, nearly half of people surveyed are not aware it is a major issue.
Although pet owners in the North East are not the worst offenders in the UK for feeding their animals fatty treats, according to the report, 61 per cent of them regularly give them high-calorie treats such as crisps, cake and takeaways.
PDSA Pet Fit Club entrants will take part in a programme, overseen by experts over six months.
Owners can nominate pets at www.petfitclub.org.uk and the deadline for entries is Sunday, April 26.