New data released by veterinary charity, PDSA, reveals the staggeringly unhealthy – and downright dangerous – diets of UK pets. According to the organisation, a third of dogs and a quarter of cats now overweight or obese.
5.5 million owners admit to feeding their cat, dog or rabbit treats every day. These include potentially hazardous fatty or sweet snacks such as cake, biscuits, crisps, chips, takeaways and chocolate.
186,000 dogs and 111,000 cats are believed to have sampled alcohol. More than four million UK dogs, cats and rabbits are fed scraps as their main meal.
Pets that become overweight may develop arthritis, as a result, or suffer from diabetes and heart disease. The PDSA Pet Fit Club, which helps owners improve their pets’ diet and health, has helped 74 dogs, 32 cats and six rabbits lose a total 63 stone 11lb since its launch in 2005.
PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham-Jones said: “Nearly half of pet owners believe that obesity is the biggest threat to animal welfare in the next ten years – yet pets continue to be fed unsuitable diets which is fuelling the problem.”
60 percent of the pet owners surveyed felt that overweight pets are less happy. 88 percent believed that the extra weight gave their animals a shorter life span. Pet industry members, from vets to store owners, has been working hard to increase awareness, eduction and easy access to appropriate diets. Let’s hope that owners will take note of this support and encouragement, resulting in happier, healthier pets.