Over 100 veterinary professional delegates from throughout the UK and Ireland and as far afield as mainland Europe, Canada and Mexico gathered for ROYAL CANIN’s first Weight Management Congress in Nottingham recently.
Although the event itself was aimed at vets and vet nurses, there was also a clear message for the specialist pet trade says Ben Hurley, ROYAL CANIN retail marketing manager. “We all know that obesity is already an epidemic for dogs and cats worldwide, and there is a substantial role for the specialist pet trade to play in helping owners keep their pets on the straight and narrow.
“We need to help owners understand that keeping their puppy or kitten at ideal weight right from the start means they will significantly reduce the potential for obesity-related health issues in later life, as well as giving the pet a much better quality of life and an extended life expectancy.
“It is much easier to maintain ideal weight than allow the cat or dog to gain excess weight and then reduce back to a normal level. If you have weighing scales in your store, so much the better – because by offering free weighing you are also increasing footfall and hence the chance to drive extra business.
“Even if you don’t, by encouraging owners to weigh their pets at home or at the vet on a regular basis you will be helping them understand that weight management is an essential part of healthy pet ownership, and also put yourself in a position to advise on dietary changes if necessary.”
The two day Congress had key speakers such as Prof Alex German and Georgia Woods from the University of Liverpool Weight Management Clinic; behaviourist Jon Bowen; veterinary anaesthetist Briony Alderson; Sandra McCune from MARS Pet Care; and Louise Brennan, Shelley Holden and Caroline Burke from ROYAL CANIN’s veterinary Weight Management Team.
The key messages from the event will be filtered down through an extensive communications campaign starting in the spring and continuing throughout the year.