A Sunday dinner-loving Spaniel from Wolverhampton, who is nearly double his ideal weight, has reached the finals of the UK’s largest pet slimming competition - PDSA Pet Fit Club. The heavyweight hound, hoping to lead the way for millions of overweight pets across Britain, has been selected to compete against 12 other fat pets – including dogs, cats and even a rabbit.

Tipping the scales at 3st 6Ib (21.2kg), the curvy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 80% over his ideal weight (1st 12lb / 12kg).

Ten-year-old Oscar’s weight-gain has been caused by his love of Sunday dinners and leftovers from his owners’ plates. Lack of exercise compounded his weight problem but now his owner, June Lawrence (78), is determined to help the portly pooch slim down.

She says: “We’ve always classed Oscar as a family member, so used to feed him our leftovers. We’d even cook an extra bit of roast dinner for him on Sundays, so he could eat with us. He used to love a chicken dinner, but that’s all stopped now.”

She says: “Because I’m disabled, I can’t exercise Oscar as much as I should, but we’ve started playing fetch in the garden. He gets breathless quickly and doesn’t play for very long, but I’m hoping he will get better as he loses weight. That’s why we’ve entered Pet Fit Club.”

After losing her husband last year, June says Oscar provides vital companionship: “Oscar is the only company I have on a daily basis. He is a real comfort to me and I feel terrible that I’ve contributed to him becoming overweight. I’d be lost without him so I’m determined to do everything I need to get him fit and healthy.”

As part of Pet Fit Club, Oscar will embark on a strict six-month diet and exercise programme, specially tailored by the vets and nurses at Wolverhampton PDSA Pet Hospital on Tuxford Close.

Amanda Wilding, PDSA Veterinary Nurse who will be helping to oversee Oscar’s diet, said: “Pet obesity is a serious issue that affects millions of UK pets. Like humans, pets carrying excess weight are at risk from developing serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. It can even shorten their lives.

“With the help of PDSA Pet Fit Club, June is making the necessary lifestyle changes to help get Oscar down to a healthier weight. We will support her every step of the way over the next six months to ensure they succeed.”

“If owners are unsure what to feed their pets, or are concerned about their weight, they should always seek advice from their vet.”

Oscar will be competing against six dogs, five cats and a rabbit, including Cilla, a crumpet-loving American Bulldog from Liverpool who tips the scales at a hefty 8st 8lb (54.4kg). Also taking on the six-month weight loss challenge are podgy puss Puff, from Sheffield, who weighs 1st 3lb (7.5kg) and rotund rabbit, Pebbles, from Blackpool.

PDSA Pet Fit Club was launched in 2005 and has already helped 74 dogs, 32 cats and six rabbits lose a total 63 stone 11lb - equivalent to over 400 bags of sugar, 6,500 tins of tuna, 7,000 sausages or four heavyweight boxers.