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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 May, 2005, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Portly pooch put on herbal diet
Zollie has been put on a herbal-based diet
One of Britain's fattest dogs has embarked on a health food diet in a bid to reduce its waistline.

Zollie, who is tipping the scales at 22 stone, is combining a new dried pet food with herbal and homeopathic remedies.

The pedigree mastiff from Aberdeen is one of the first dogs to take part in the holistic diet featuring a recipe from Ayrshire businessman George Burns.

Owner Elaine Knight owns 24 Mastiffs but admits none compare to Zollie.

She said: "As a breeder I've seen a lot of dogs in my time but I've never owned one as big as Zollie.

"He just keeps piling on the pounds and getting bigger and bigger.

"It would be great to see him leaner with less of a waistline."

'Alleviate ailments'

Mr Burns, founder of The Land of Holistic Pets, claims his specially-devised diet and remedies will make dogs healthier.

"Scotland has long been recognised as the sick man of Europe," he said.

"This also translates to many of our pets who not only devour the scraps from their owners' plates but also consume bottom end of the market pet foods that can cause health problems.

"Nutrition is the foundation of good health in any pet. By introducing herbs to a dog's diet, it is possible to correct any imbalance there may be in their body.

"This in turn enables the immune system to rid the body of toxic wastes which are often witnessed as itchy skin, eczema, runny eyes, bad breath, waxy ears and loss of energy."

The Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals said the new diet should benefit dogs with health problems.

Spokeswoman Doreen Graham said: "More and more we are seeing dogs suffering from different types of skin allergies, very often linked to additives from pet foods.

"It is essential to the animal's wellbeing that owners take steps to alleviate any ailments their pets may have.

"The holistic approach to pet care must be welcomed as it is crucial that pet owners have a choice of foods with something to suit their more sensitive pets."

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