16/01/2020 12:00 AM
Around half of all pets in the UK are overweight or obese — but there’s lots you can do to help your pet maintain a healthy weight, and your vet can help.
In a recent survey by the British Veterinary Association (BVA), two thirds (67%) of companion animal vets said that obesity and overfeeding of pets was among their three most pressing animal welfare concerns.
Many vets expressed concern that owners of dogs, cats and rabbits were not aware that their pet was overweight or obese, that pets were being fed inappropriate portion sizes or that too many treats or human food were being added to their regular diet.
As with humans, obesity in pets can lead to life-long and life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, breathing problems, diabetes and arthritis.
The BVA’s advice for pet owners on keeping your pet in good health includes:
- Get out and about — walking or running with your dog is cheaper than gym membership and fun and rewarding for both of you.
Take an extra circuit round the local park or enjoy a walk in the country.
- Think toys not treats — it’s far healthier to give a pet something that they can play with and get fun exercise from rather than something that could make them pile on the pounds. Treats should only be given in moderation.
- Follow the right diet and exercise plan for your pet — your vet will be able to give advice on a healthy regime based on its breed, size, age and lifestyle.
- Take your pet for regular health checks — vets should check a pet’s body condition score and weight at least once a year, and more regularly when a young animal is in its growth phase.
“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,” said BVA president Daniella Dos Santos.
“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.”
With pet insurance from Purely Pets, you can be covered for vets bills for accidents, illness or both — and many policies offer added benefits such as cover for dentistry, loss of pet, third party liability and overseas travel.
Why not get a quote today?