As a pet owner you may never have thought about pet obesity, but it is a very real issue facing many pets in the UK. With pet obesity on the rise, veterinarians are starting to see more cases of animals developing similar health issues to overweight humans.
According to research published in 2014 by the Pet Food Manufacturing Association (PMFA), pet owners’ awareness of pet obesity has improved by 30 per cent since 2009. However, there are concerns this awareness doesn’t always lead to action. The main worry is pet owners believing their pets are at an acceptable weight, when the research is showing 45 per cent of dogs and 40 per cent of cats are overweight.
We have produced an easy-to-understand guide if you are worried about pet obesity and want to ensure your pet is fit and healthy.
The risks for overweight pets
You may think you’re being kind to your pet when you give them treats and extra snacks but, in many cases, this can be detrimental to their health and well-being. The risks involved are very similar to the ones humans face, which make them easy to relate to. These risks include:
Heart and liver disease
* Breathing difficulties
* High blood pressure
* Heat intolerance
* Increased surgical risks can be linked to obesity
What causes pet obesity?
There are a few main causes of pet obesity:
* Overfeeding, either through incorrect portion sizes at meal times, excessive treats and snacks or both
* Feeding pets the wrong type of food, such as human food, which can be very unhealthy for them
* Too little exercise, often coupled with one or both of the above
There are many other factors to consider too – let’s take a look at some of them below.
How do I know if my pet is overweight?
You should be able to see and feel the outline of your pet’s ribs, without excess fat covering, and see and feel its waist, which should be clearly visible from above. Your vet will demonstrate this for you and help you keep track of your pet’s overall condition.
If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, book in for your free weight clinic with one of our heath advisers. This includes a body condition score, weight check, measurements of the neck, chest and waist and advice on food, diets and exercise regimes.
Contact any of our branches for further information or call to book an appointment.