EVERY DOG AND CAT OWNER IN UK ISSUED URGENT WARNING FOR JANUARY

Source: BirminghamLive (Extract)
Posted:  January 4, 2021

In fact, over half of all dogs in the UK are obese, meaning that they could live two years less than healthier dogs.

It’s no secret that lockdown has been unkind to waistlines across the country – but people aren’t as aware that the same issue is affecting their household pets too.

In fact, over half of all dogs in the UK are obese, meaning that they could live two years less than healthier dogs.

From excessive treating to a lack of exercise, Burgess Pet Care has conducted extensive research into the causes of the rise of obesity in cats and dogs during lockdown.

Burgess’s Head Vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, has also lent her expertise to shed light on what pet owners need to be doing to keep their animals safe and healthy. 

A report from Burgess highlights that over half of dogs (51%) in the UK are obese. Almost 600,000 more UK pets are overweight or obese and at risk of living two years less than a healthy, fit pet.

The Yorkshire-based pet food provider found that 76% of pet owners do not know how much their pets should weigh while 32% Britons said they never measure portions and guess how much food they needed to give their pets.

Pugs were the dog breed most likely to be overweight, with three quarters categorised as obese by vets. Similarly, more than two-thirds of Boxers were considered too heavy, with Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Spaniels and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Dr Moyes said: “Pet obesity can also cause serious health problems, and make existing problems worse, which can reduce the length and quality of your pet’s life,” the vet states, adding that weight problems can cause and contribute to diabetes, heart disease, respiratory distress, high blood pressure and cancer.

You should be able to see and feel the outline of your dog’s ribs and your cat’s spine and hip bones without excess fat covering.

You should be able to see and feel your dog’s waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above.  

Your dog’s belly should be tucked up when viewed from the side, while your cat’s belly shouldn’t be sagging underneath with only a small amount of fat.

Dr Moyes added: “When it comes to managing pet obesity, knowledge is key. From identifying that your pet is overweight to understanding what constitutes a healthy diet to portion control and ensuring they have the right amount of exercise.

“This is where your vet can help. Many practices have weight management clinics, and your vet will be able to provide you with expert advice, practical tips and support.

“Very overweight pets will require an individual vet-devised weight loss programme. This may take several months before your pet reaches their ideal body condition.”

She adds: “Ensuring your pet has an active lifestyle with lots of walks and playtime is good for both their physical and mental health. However, the pet care provider advises that increasing exercise alone is not enough to help your pets lose weight, but it is helpful.

“Start gradually, and be especially careful with elderly pets, particularly in hot weather. Older pets should see the vet first. Little and often is the safest way to start.

“Try to take your dog out at least twice a day and start to introduce active games – ambling down the road on a lead is not going to burn off many calories. Increase the activity level at home as well. Buy toys in which you can hide food but remember to deduct the ‘treat’ from the daily food allowance.”

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