Vets issue tips for National Obesity Awareness Week

Vets are issuing advice on tackling obesity in line with National Obesity Awareness Week, which runs between 14 January and 20 January.

The awareness week follows a recent BVA survey that revealed 67% of companion animal vets said that obesity and overfeeding of pets was among the three “most pressing” animal welfare concerns. 

Many vets expressed concern that pet owners were not aware that their pet was overweight or obese, and that pets were being fed inappropriate portion sizes, as well as too many treats or human food.

The BVA warned that despite owners believing they were being kind to their animals by providing treats and bigger food portions, they are instead “contributing to their pet’s poor health and limiting their lifespan”. 

It also warned against giving pets human food as a treat, saying that “one human biscuit can equate to a whole packet when fed to an animal due to their smaller body size”.

The BVA also encouraged pet owners to exercise more with their pets, to give pets toys instead of treats, follow a vet-issued diet and exercise plan, control portion sizes and take their pets for regular health check-ups. 

Daniella Dos Santos, BVA president, said: “This National Obesity Awareness Week it’s just as important to think about how we can make sure our pets are at a healthy weight and following the diet and lifestyle that’s right for them. 

“Pets who are overweight or obese are at risk of a range of serious health problems and a poorer quality of life, so it’s vital to feed them the right diet, tone down the treats and make sure they have regular opportunities to exercise.”

She added: “Many owners don’t realise that their pet may be overweight or at risk of obesity, or may be afraid to ask for support, but vets are here to help and will soon get your animal back on track to feeling furry, fit and fabulous.”

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