By Cara Sulieman
CHRISTMAS is a time for gluttony as the diets are pushed aside in favour of the traditional festive feast.
But for one podgy pooch this year will be different.
Two-year-old Tara has been put on a strict diet when her owner found out she was DOUBLE the size she should have been.
So instead of tucking in to the Christmas dinner her owner, Linda Smith, used to treat her to, she will have to satisfy herself with a doggy chew.
The chubby canine, from Livingston, tipped the scales at a whopping 6st 8lb (42kg) when she started her diet – which is 66 per cent more than she should be.
So Linda enrolled her in the PDSA Pet Fit Club to try and shift the extra weight.
And since September, Tara has managed to lose 1st 1lb (7kg) leaving her at a lighter 5st 7lb (35kg).
But she still has another stone to go before she reaches her ideal weight.
Linda is determined to help her beloved pet shed her excess flab, and has cut back on the fatty treats she used to feed her.
She said: “I used to feed her tinned food but that wasn’t all.
“I was giving her her food and then just before bedtime she would get four hot dogs and a handful of dog biscuits and meat strips.
“At Christmas she would get a full plate of Christmas dinner to have when we were eating – turkey, potatoes, gravy, everything we had.”
But she claims she didn’t know the black Labrador was overweight.
Linda said: “We didn’t realise she was overweight.
“Myself and my dad took her to the vet for something else and they mentioned she was overweight.
“The vet said she was very, very obese and would we like to enter the competition.
“It’s been a great help but very hard.”
Linda’s biggest worry is that the small portion of dry dog biscuits that the pooch now gets once a day isn’t enough to keep her hunger at bay.
She said: “I still think she’s starving on her new diet but the vet said that Labradors will eat anything and everything.
“She was a bit dubious about the new food at first but soon got used to it. She’d probably eat a whole bag now if I let her.
“The first few weeks she kept sitting by the kitchen cupboard, where her treats used to be kept, whining.
“The vet said just to give her a wee cuddle if she looks hungry.”
“One off treat”
And this Christmas Tara will have to be content with tucking into a doggy chew instead of turkey and trimmings.
Linda said: “I’ll be getting her a chew which is a treat for her now but she won’t have anything else. It would just be a one off treat for Christmas.”
As well as the new diet, the canine is enjoying a tailored fitness programme – going out for a run two or three times a day.
Linda can already see the difference in her prized pooch and is confident they can make it to the target weight.
She said: “We have done really well so far. She’s lost quite a bit and is still losing weight yet.
“She’s good a figure on her now – you can see her hind legs and ribs coming in.
“We have tried our hardest and it’s worth it for her. She can move around a lot better already.
“She’s a great dog and I wouldn’t want to lose her too soon. I’m really pleased with her and I hope she wins the competition.”
Stuart McMorrow, Senior Vet at Edinburgh PDSA PetAid hospital, says: “Tara is doing really well in the competition and the change in her, even at this halfway stage, is fantastic.
“There’s still a long way to go but we’re confident that she’ll continue to do very well.”
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