Fresh research out this summer reveals rising levels of pet obesity and urges owners to weight their animals regularly to help tackle the issue.
The study, conducted for a leading trade body for the pet foods industry, found that up to a fifth of all owners were in denial of the problem, and considered their overweight or obese furry friend to be at “healthy” weight.
By keeping an ideal weight, many animals can extend their life expectancy by up to two years.
Here are some of the other key findings to the survey:
• Almost half of animals taken to vets weight more than they should do.
• Over 90% of those with overweight pets do not appreciate that obesity is a potential threat to life.
• Well over 18 million British pets are consistently given the wrong diets.
• As well as in humans, obesity in animals can cause problems ranging from diabetes to heart conditions and, because of its inflammatory effects, can also worsen conditions like arthritis.
A new campaign is urging owners to weigh their dogs weekly, and there is a lot of information available about pet dieting online, with resources including pet food diaries, body condition logs and information about ideal weights. Owners can also share experiences over the Internet.
This is the first time pet food manufacturers, retailers and animal welfare groups and pet charities have come together with vets and animal welfare organisations, and the “Weigh in Wednesday” campaign encourages owners of pets to take urgent action to tackle obesity.