14 JANUARY 2019

National Obesity Awareness Week runs from the 14th to the 20th of January this year, and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home are marking the occasion by drawing attention to the issue of overweight pets.

Nelly, a 10-year-old Bulldog, came into Battersea as a stray after she was found tied up in a park with a note that simply read ‘sorry’. She was very overweight when she arrived, around 10 kilograms above the healthy weight for a female bulldog. At 32 kilograms, she weighed the same as the average 10-year-old child.

During her stay at Battersea Nelly underwent surgery to open up her airways, as she was having difficulty breathing, a common problem amongst flat-faced breeds. Battersea’s vets believe Nelly’s size is likely to have hindered her breathing even further, making it difficult for her to exercise and shift some of the weight. As she took some time to recover from her operation, Nelly stayed at Battersea for 82 days in total, which is over double the average stay for a dog.

Battersea vet Claire Turner says: “The most common reason that pets become overweight is eating too much food and not getting enough exercise.”

“Much like humans, pet calorie intake and expenditure need to be balanced to maintain a healthy weight. Nelly’s been on a strict diet and a gentle exercise regime at Battersea, as we need to help her peel off the pounds, while being careful with her breathing. Pet obesity is something we see a lot here at Battersea, and research shows more than half of British dogs are overweight, so this is something every pet owner needs to be aware of [1].

“Pet obesity can cause serious health issues, so – if you think your cat or dog might be overweight – it’s best to consult your vet, who will be able to assess your pet and advise you on how to help them lose the extra pounds.”

Luckily for Nelly, she has found her happy ending. She has been rehomed by Roz Funnell in Hertfordshire, who said:

“After losing my old Battersea dog, Millie, to a heart attack last year and then having a hip replacement in the summer, I was in absolutely no rush to rehome another dog. But, on a visit to Battersea with my nephew in November I saw Nelly walk past, and it was love at first sight.”

“When I got the call to say that she was medically cleared to be rehomed I was absolutely over the moon. I’ve been waiting for her for such a long time, but it was so worth it. All of the staff at Battersea have done an excellent job of looking after her, making sure that she was healthy enough to finally come home.”

“I have a fantastic vet who will help me set a diet plan for Nelly, and hopefully with some gentle exercise we can both get a little bit fitter together!”

Notes to editors

  • Battersea is here for every dog and cat, and has been since 1860. Since it was founded over 150 years ago, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • We believe that every dog and cat deserves the best. That’s why we aim to never turn away a dog or cat in need.
  • In 2017, Battersea helped over 7,000 dogs and cats.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 300 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time.
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at Battersea, but the average stay for a dog is 38 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • For further information on Battersea, please visit
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ or