Obesity can have a severe impact on people’s health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and heart and liver disease. There is also a significant burden on the NHS – direct costs caused by obesity are now estimated to be £5.1 billion per year. As a nation we struggle to take obesity seriously and this spills over onto our pets as well. Research by the PDSA, the UK charity which provides pet care to those in need shows that 13.5 million overweight pets regularly receiving fatty and sugary treats such as takeaways, crisps and cakes. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report shows that;
- Overweight pets are at risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, and have a lower life expectancy than healthy pets
- 61% of pet owners think severely overweight pets should be removed from an owner who persistently ignores veterinary advice
- 51% of pet owners think that overweight owners are more likely to have overweight pets
- 48% of owners admit to giving their pet a treat because they think it makes their pet feel happy, while 29% of owners say it’s because it makes them happy
Do any of these statements ring true? One of the comments we always hear is that people feel sorry for their pets and cannot ignore those wanting eyes! You must resist! The second comment is ‘so am I killing him with kindness?’ The answer is clearly yes, but that is not the answer people want to hear.
A previous report from 2010, involving almost 30,000 dogs across the UK over the past four years found a staggering 35% of pets were carrying too many kilos. In 2006 the figure was 21%, and PDSA warned that if the trend continues, almost half of all dogs could be overweight by the end of 2013. So 2013 is here, we have a pet health epidemic and the time for action is now.
The recent government call to action on obesity sets ambitions for a downward trend in excess weight in both children and adults by 2020 and sets out how, by working together, a wide range of partners will be able to make these ambitions a reality. From this, it is clear that as pet owners you need help.
Firstly, ask yourself whether you think your pet is overwight. Not sure how to tell? Click here to view the PDSA’s page with charts that you can download to assess your dog, cat or rabbit. You can also download the full PAW report from this page too.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to phone your vet practice and request an appointment. Most practices run weight clinics with knowledgable staff with workable solutions for you.
How can Northwest Surgeons help?
At Northwest Surgeons one of our nurses Caroline Boothroyd holds an advanced qualification in nutrition and is able to tailor-make diet regimes to suit the individual cat or dog. As well as producing a weight-reduction plan, Caroline is there to support you through the process.
With our orthopaedic clinic many of the cases our orthopaedic specialists see suffer from arthritis. In people we know that weight reduction is one of the key factors reducing pain in arthritis – and should be considered before medication. Our team of specialist-led anaesthetists run a pain management clinic for these patients so we are perfectly equipped to offer everything you need to help your pet lose weight and improve their comfort levels.
Shocked by what you have read? Yes, this is a real welfare issue. We as owners are to blame and need to wake up to what we are really doing to our poor pets.
Put the biscuit back!
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