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Feeding Table Scraps Fueling Pet Obesity Problem

25 February 2016
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UK - A combination of snacks, scraps, takeaway leftovers and even booze continues to fuel an obesity crisis among our pets, according to leading vet charity, PDSA.

Takeaways and booze – charity reveals the shocking ‘treats’ fuelling the UK’s pet obesity crisis

With new data showing that a staggering 5.5 million cats, dogs and rabbits in the UK are being fed treats every day, the charity’s vets are warning owners that they could be drastically shortening their pet’s life expectancy.

Owners have admitted to indulging their pets by giving them fatty, sugary, and in some cases dangerous, foods. These include cake, chocolate, biscuits, crisps, chips, takeaway and even alcohol.

On top of all these unhealthy treats, over 4 million pets (2.6 million dogs, 1.4 million cats and 12,000 rabbits) are fed table scraps or leftovers as their main meals. These diet disasters are taking their toll, according to PDSA, with a third of dogs and a quarter of cats now classed as overweight or obese.

Vet professionals predict that the problem will continue to grow – with 80% believing there will be more overweight pets than healthy ones by 2019. Sadly, many overweight pets develop potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as debilitating conditions including arthritis as a direct result of being overweight.

To help fight the flab PDSA is launching its annual Pet Fit Club competition and is inviting owners of overweight and obese pets to take part in the UK’s biggest and most successful pet slimming competition.

“Pet obesity can be tackled, and through a diet and exercise programme like Pet Fit Club we can transform fat pets into fit pets,” said PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham-Jones.

Vicki continues: “Nearly half of pet owners believe that obesity is the biggest threat to animal welfare in the next ten years – yet pets continue to be fed unsuitable diets which is fuelling the problem.

“As well as being high in calories, food like takeaways, cake, cheese, chips and crisps are high in fat and sugars which are bad for our pets’ waistlines and teeth. Some owners even admitted to giving chocolate and even alcohol, both of which are poisonous to pets and can be fatal.

“The good news is that we can make a real difference, starting now. With the right food and regular exercise, it is easy to keep pets fit and healthy. Over the past 11 years, PDSA Pet Fit Club has helped transform the lives of some of the UK’s most obese pets. Through the competition we have helped over 100 animals lose more than 63 stone and encouraged thousands more owners to make positive changes to their pet’s lifestyle. Once again we are inviting owners with overweight pets to enter.”

About Pet Fit Club

Pet Fit Club is a six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored and overseen by expert PDSA vets and nurses. The charity will select up to 12 overweight dogs, cats and rabbits from across the UK to participate.

Owners can enter their pets today. Entry forms are also available from PDSA Pet Hospitals, Shops and Pet Hut superstores nationwide. The deadline for entries is Sunday, 6 March, 2016.

PDSA Pet Fit Club was launched in 2005 and has already helped 74 dogs, 32 cats and 6 rabbits lose a total 63 stone 11lb - equivalent to over 400 bags of sugar, 6,500 tins of tuna, 7,000 sausages or four heavyweight boxers.

ThePetSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock



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