A new study has revealed UK pet owners’ attitudes to obesity in their cats and dogs, and despite awareness of the condition and concern for the wellbeing of their pets, it has shown they continue to disregard advice from vets, putting their pets at risk by overfeeding them and feeding them inappropriately.
SHAPING UP TO PET OBESITY (www.petobesity.co.uk) is a new campaign designed to help pet owners address their pet’s shape and understand the impact that being overweight or obese can have on their pet and how to take control of their pet’s health.
For the survey, cat and dog owners from across the UK were interviewed and revealed that:
- More than one in four overfeed their pet to keep them happy, with 45% giving their cat or dog food when they beg
- 50% rarely or never measure out the food they give their pet, for example using electronic scales
- 48% recognise that they give their pets treats to win affection
- Nearly 40% admit to feeding their pet all they can eat at each meal
Alex German, Professor of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Liverpool, comments: "Recent studies have shown that 65% of dogs and between 39% and 52% of cats are overweight or obese so the results of this survey are extremely concerning.
"We know the impact that being overweight can have on human health, but many people are unaware of the effect that obesity can have on their pets, which include diabetes, respiratory problems, arthritis, a shorter life span and poorer quality of life.
"To owners, food is love and giving food treats is by far and away the most common method they use to reward their pet.
"However, this can lead to overfeeding and weight gain which, in time, can have major health consequences. We want to educate people that an overweight pet is not ‘cuddly’ but at risk of serious illness and possibly, early death.
"Becoming aware of what and exactly how much you feed your pet is a simple yet effective way of benefitting their health.’
For more information and advice on how to understand your cat or dog’s shape and how you can make healthier choices for your pet, visit www.petobesity.co.uk.