Four out of five veterinary professionals* have seen an increase in pet obesity cases in the last two years, say findings from the latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report.
Obesity was revealed to be the number one concern among vets when it comes to dogs but worryingly, nearly half of people surveyed are not aware it’s a major issue**. This is a huge concern given that 80 percent of vets and vet nurses believe there will be more overweight pets than healthy weight pets in five years time and PDSA is stressing the need for urgent action.
Depressingly, over six million dogs*** in the UK exercise outside of the home or garden for only an hour a day or less, contributing to the number of obese pets. Obesity can contribute to pets developing deadly conditions that can cut their lifespan such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as debilitating conditions including arthritis.
To help combat the pet obesity crisis PDSA has launched its annual Pet Fit Club competition and is inviting owners of the UK’s biggest pets to apply for a chance to take part in the fat fighting contest.
Nicola Martin, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, said: ‘Over the past decade, Pet Fit Club has transformed the lives of some of the UK’s most obese pets, having helped nearly 100 animals shed over 60 stone so we are welcoming entries again and offering our expertise.’
Early entrants to the competition, which has been helping the nation’s pets to battle the bulge for the past ten years, include a colossal Cocker Spaniel called Millie, who is nearly twice the size she should be; and bulging black cat Boycus, who tips the scales at a whopping 10kg – double the size of your average moggie.
Sadly obesity isn’t confined to just people, cats and dogs as even rabbits and rodents like Spider the rat, who is almost double the size of an average rat, and struggles to squeeze into his sleeping quarters, are piling on the pounds.
Pet Fit Club participants will take part in a tailored diet and exercise programme, overseen by expert vets and nurses over a six month period.
Owners can enter their pets at www.petfitclub.org.uk; the deadline for entries is Sunday, 26 April, 2015.
*PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2014. Total sample size was 1,069 pet owners and 572 veterinary professionals. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18 September – 10 October 2014. The survey was carried out online and weighted to be representative of the cat, dog and rabbit owners in the UK.
**Base: 1,000 adults 16+, Britain. Source: Charity Awareness Monitor, Jul 14 & Jan 15, nfpSynergy
*** Figures calculated using estimated UK population; 8.1 million dogs.