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Killer diet threat to millions of UK pets

Take-aways, biscuits, chips and even alcohol – are all fuelling an ongoing obesity crisis for British petsa ccording to vet charity PDSA.

 

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It has found that more than 10 million pets are being given fatty treats, due to owners sharing their own unhealthy eating habits with their pets in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to make them happy.

 

Exclusive PDSA research shows that around nine out of ten owners (87 per cent)* give pets treats, despite the fact that 91 per cent realise the resulting obesity can reduce their pet’s lifespan. Around 2.5 million dogs (one in three) and over two million cats (one in four) are currently overweight and, not only could they have their lives cut short, they will also have a drastically reduced quality of life in some cases.

 

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: “Sadly, seeing morbidly obese pets is now an everyday occurrence in vet practices across the UK. It is one of the biggest welfare concerns facing the nation’s pets. It’s effectively a silent killer leading to long term health issues for pets that can cut their lifespan by up to two years.”

 

PDSA’s 2013 PAW Report, produced in conjunction with YouGov, provides the biggest annual insight into pet health and welfare and has discovered a wide range of inappropriate treats are being fed to pets such as fast food leftovers, crisps, biscuits, chocolate and chips. In some cases, it appears pets have also been helping themselves to leftover alcoholic drinks.

 

Dr Philippa Yam, leading animal obesity expert at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, said: “PDSA’s findings are very worrying and demonstrate that diet remains one of the most misunderstood welfare needs for pets. Obesity is one of the most pressing health issues affecting companion animals. PDSA’s work in this area is hugely successful.”

 

To help combat the problem the charity has launched its annual fat-fighting competition, PDSA Pet Fit Club. Over the last eight years, the contest has transformed the lives of some of Britain’s fattest pets, many of whom simply wouldn’t have survived had their weight issues not been tackled.

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