Obese Red Retriever Delights Internet After Dropping Half His Body Weight

An obese red retriever who lost half of his body weight is now living his best life.

When owner Kelsey rescued Phil in February 2019, he weighed 150 pounds and was struggling to live normally. His first official weigh-in with the vet revealed he was 147 pounds, and he struggled to climb stairs or walk on hardwood floors without slipping.

With Kelsey's love and care, Phil is now down to 75 pounds—half of his starting weight.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, an estimated 25 to 35 percent of canines in the U.S. are obese. Although research by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention suggests it's actually around 55 percent.

A 2021 study found that certain breeds are more prone to weight gain than others, with golden retrievers, springer spaniels, pugs and beagles among those at an increased risk.

Obese Retriever Delights Internet With Weight Loss
Phil lost 75 pounds after finding his forever home. Above, an adult red retriever poses with its tongue out. Marcelo Araujo/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Studies suggest that overweight owners are more likely to have overweight dogs. A recent study found a correlation between a dog owner's body mass index and their pet's body condition score.

Researchers reason that the environmental factors that affect the owner's weight—such as a lack of exercise or overeating—also affect their dog, leading to shared health concerns such as diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Kelsey has been sharing Phil's weight-loss journey on Instagram under the handle @orangeboyphil, with their latest video celebrating the milestone.

In the clip—which has over 1 million likes—an obese Phil can be seen struggling to walk under the weight he is carrying. However, the next scene shows a slim Phil happily running around in a field.

Kelsey told Newsweek that she worked closely with a veterinarian to sure Phil lost the weight at a healthy rate, as well as gradually building up his fitness through daily walks.

"His bloodwork was all normal, so it was a change in diet and exercise that had the biggest impact," she said.

"At the beginning, we took many small walks throughout the day. These typically added up to a mile or so. Once he got stronger, we would increase the distance.

"His food was a prescription diet from his doctor. I weighed him every two weeks to ensure I wasn't over or under feeding."

Instagram users appear to be as proud of Phil's weight loss as his owner, with jackgibson_01 calling him a "good boy."

"He went from phat phil to phit phil," said xlouiesmithx.

"Way to go," wrote finnking13.

"What an inspiration!" commented kikifairy1987.

Users also praised Kelsey for adopting Phil and helping him to lose the weight.

"He will be feeling much happier now," said Mehere_now08.

"Good job getting his weight down so that he is more comfortable moving around and his health will be better."

Chriscross2603 agreed, writing: "Whoa you did well !!! That must have been hard !!"

While nadja.horn2018 commented: "Thank you for posting this!"

"Obese pets are not 'cute' - they need help to live a healthy long life!"

Phil isn't the only canine on a weight-loss journey. A TikTok of an overweight dog went viral recently due to its hilarious reaction to being served salad, while one woman returned home from traveling to find her parents' overfeeding had turned her pooch into a "sausage roll."

Update 09/07/22 8.37 p.m. E.T.: This article was updated to include a quote and additional information from @orangeboyphil.

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