It’s tempting for pet owners to overindulge their dogs and cats. These creatures are adept at begging for food and it can take plenty of willpower for people to resist. However, it’s important that individuals don’t succumb to their animals’ pleas for edible treats too often.
Just like humans, dogs and cats risk obesity if their diets are overly calorific and they don’t burn off enough energy to compensate for this.
In turn, overweight pets are more likely to develop a range of medical conditions, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Ultimately, this lowers their life expectancies. Also, fat pets lack energy and suffer a lower quality of life.
Research conducted by UK veterinary charity PDSA highlights the extent of pet obesity in the country. It assessed the weight and general health of nearly 30,000 dogs and found that more than one in three (35 per cent) were overweight.
According to the organisation, many dogs are fed on scraps or leftovers as one of their main types of food. Also, 98 per cent of dog owners revealed they sometimes give their dogs treats, while 42 per cent offer treats every day.
Leading animal obesity specialist Dr Alex German from the University of Liverpool Veterinary School described the findings as “very worrying”. He added: “The use of inappropriate treats is particularly concerning, especially the frequency that these are being given. It is highly likely that these unsuitable foods are contributing to the obesity epidemic in pets.”
To help ensure their animals stay in shape, people should provide good quality, balanced pet food in the right quantities. Also, owners must make sure their furry companions get enough exercise.