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Is Your Pet Overweight? Over Half of Dogs, Cats Are, According to Vets

27 July 2016

UK - A survey has revealed more than half of UK cats and dogs are overweight - and few owners are taking the advice of vets to get their pets weighed regularly.

Most pet owners are only having their animals weighed yearly - less in some cases - despite most veterinary surgeries recommending minimum weighing intervals of just one month, particularly if the cat or dog is overweight.

The survey was carried out by veterinary scales manufacturer Marsden, who asked veterinary surgeries what percentage of cats and dogs they saw were overweight. The average was 58% - however one vet quoted as high as 80%.

When asked how frequently they recommend owners weigh their pet, most vets said monthly, with some recommending twice a month - particularly if the animal is already overweight.

However, almost all those who responded to the survey thought that owners only actually weighed their pets once a year - when they visited the vets.

Anita Dowe, of Abivale Veterinary Group in Oxfordshire, said: “Pet obesity is a tricky topic to tackle with owners. Often they don't feel there is a problem, and it can be difficult to get them to understand the nasty consequences of obesity in their pet.

“There is also often a strong emotional association with feeding and owners 'feel bad' not giving them treats.”

“I feel the biggest causes of pet obesity are simply owners over feeding their pets, owners not realising there are different feeding guides for different foods, owners not realising how quickly the calories start to pile up when giving a treat here or there, and also owners not thinking their pet is overweight to begin with.”

David Smith, Marketing Manager at Marsden, added: “The results of this survey suggest the percentage of overweight pets in the UK is higher than in 2014, when the PDSA’s Animal Welfare Report claimed one in three dogs, and one in four cats were overweight.

“Like that report quite rightly said, it’s a growing problem - and means more pets than ever are likely to be suffering from health complications and a general lower quality of life as a result.

“At Marsden we are keen to make more people aware of this growing epidemic. We’ve also increased our range of animal weighing scales, to make them more accessible to those who want to weigh their cat or dog at home.”

Marsden’s vet scales can be seen and ordered at

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