The Obesity Report from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) has found, an “alarming rise” in pet obesity, with almost 8.5m pets in the UK classed as overweight or obese.
The report has found 51% of dogs, 44% of cats and 29% of small mammals are overweight or obese, with all vets asked concerned about the rise.
Research among 8,000 households, shows that the majority of owners are seemingly unaware of the problem; 68% of pet owners think their pet is exactly the right weight and 67% admit they are not worried about pet obesity.
Nicole Paley, deputy chief executive of the PFMA, said: “Pet obesity is a serious condition, which is now recognised as a disease among many health organisations. Over the last ten years, we are proud to have helped communicate the importance of healthy nutrition and dangers of obesity – to pet professionals and owners. However, the message is not getting through to pet owners – and we need to do more.”
Junior vice president of the British Veterinary Association, Daniella Dos Santos, added: “Obesity ranks as one of the top pet health and welfare concerns for vets, and this important report comes at a time when more and more veterinary practices are seeing overweight or obese animals coming through their doors with weight-related problems like musculoskeletal conditions, breathing issues and diabetes.
“Pets are an important part of the family and while many owners show love for their pet through food, this is often a case of killing them with kindness. Prevention is better than cure, which is why we would encourage owners to seek advice from their vet on proper nutrition, exercise and how to recognise healthy body condition.”