An overweight four-year-old Golden Retriever called Stella has been crowned Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s second “Pet Slimmer of the Month” after losing 20% of her overall bodyweight.

Donna Borthwick from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, has owned Stella since she was 16 weeks old. She told HHO: “I thought Stella was getting a little bit overweight, but I didn’t realise how big she had actually got.

“Stella hasn’t been allowed any titbits since she started her special diet in August last year and she reached her target weight in June. Before she used to sleep all day but now she has lost the weight she is like a puppy again — full of bounce and energy.

“It is unbelieveable the difference that losing the excessive weight has made to her. She really is like a different dog.”

Haven Veterinary Practice in Essex noticed Stella’s growing waistline during a routine booster vaccination last year, after which she joined the practice’s “portly pets” club.

“Stella and her owner have worked very hard to achieve her new, healthy weight,” says Kerry Hanyszyn from Haven. “She is now a much happier, livelier dog. She looks beautiful and her increased energy levels allow her to enjoy chasing seagulls on the beach.”

A staggering 50% of our nation’s pets are clinically obese, according to Hills, which is why the pet nutrition company launched a competition to generate awareness of the problem.

The monthly winners will be eligible for regional competitions, with the top slimmers going forward to a national final where the Hills “Pet Slimmer of the Year” will be crowned. The winning dog will receive one year’s supply of Hill’s pet food and £500 worth of pet accessories, while its owner will receive £2,000 worth of holiday vouchers.

So if your dog is looking a little on the rotund side, have a word with your local vet, and your pet could be Hill’s next slimmer of the month — giving you a chance to win a fantastic holiday.