MP Grahame Morris has launched a new campaign to help porky pooches get to a healthier weight.
Mr Morris, who represents Easington, is backing a scheme devised by Dogs Trust in partnership with Durham County Council and Durham NHS.
The launch of Woof, Waggle and Waistline, which took place at Seaham Leisure Centre, will be the first of many community events aimed at improving the lives and welfare of overweight dogs and their owners, across the north.
Woof, Waggle and Waistline aims to help thousands of dogs in the North of England due to a growing trend in canine obesity hitting the region.
Statistics gathered by Dogs Trust’s campaigns team in the North of England show that almost half of the 12,607 dogs who attended their community events in 2016 were overweight, while the NHS tells us that 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight.
Dog owners who attended the launch were provided with important information on supporting the health and wellbeing of their dog, including how to ensure they maintain a healthy weight.
Owners of dogs identified as being overweight were given a free pack which included an information booklet with lots of useful dietary advice.
The Durham Council Walk4Life and Wellbeing for Life team also attended the launch to highlight the benefits of regular exercise and how having a pet dog can help you get fitter.
The Wellbeing for Life team also offered blood pressure checks to any dog owners who were interested in receiving them.
Mr Morris said: “Woof, Waggle and Waistline is a great initiative which will ensure more dog owners are aware of the importance of responsible dog ownership and how putting Dogs Trust’s advice and resources into practice can be a very rewarding experience for them.
“Obesity remains a huge problem across the UK for many families, including their dogs, so it is encouraging to see creative solutions being rolled out which can tackle this in a way that brings families and their pets closer together.”
Denise Kelly, campaigns manager for Dogs Trust North of England, said: “We are very grateful that Grahame could come along and support the launch.
"We received some fantastic feedback from families who attended as they got to have fun whilst learning a lot about how we should be treating our family pets.
“We plan on holding a number of community events across the North of England throughout the year that offer informative advice to dog owners and potential dog owners alike on the fundamentals of owning a dog.
"This will include the importance of neutering your pet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the cost and time involved in owning a dog and resources on dog training and behaviour, as well as the legal requirement to have your dog microchipped.”
Dogs Trust will be holding regular community events across the North of England.
For more information, go to www.dogstrust.org.uk/ifwoofswerewords.