Billionaire tycoon Sir Richard Branson has entered the pet industry by putting his name and money in to a gym especially for pets.
The Virgin Active pet gym will help pet owners battle the bulge that has lead to 1 in 3 British dogs being overweight.
Sir Richard Branson’s health club chain, Virgin Active, is set to launch the UK’s first ever pet only gym. The move comes off the back of increasing concerns about pet obesity in the UK. A recent report from the The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals warned that UK pet owners could be responsible for a worrying epidemic of over-sized animals, ranging from dogs and cats to hamsters, gerbils, rats, rabbits and budgies. Much of the problem is down to over feeding and lack of exercise, with one in four dog owners admitting that they never exercise their pets.
Heart complaints, diabetes and arthritis are just some of the health problems associated with pets carrying excess weight.
Trials have already taken place at the Virgin Active club in Acton with gym members encouraged to bring their pets for a work out.
Laura Thomas, 35 from Ealing comments:
“I have to admit to feeding my pet Basset Hound too many treats and not really exercising him enough. Now that there is a special exercise environment just for animals nearby, I’m determined to get him in shape.”
The health club, which is being called Animal Active, is scheduled to open its doors later this year and will be a haven for animals in need of exercise or lifestyle management. Trained exercise co-ordinators will run a series of group exercise classes which will include Pooch Paunch Buster, Puuuroebics, Wag Attack, Canine Crunch and Pawlates. There will also be a weigh-in area for all pet owners to come and check the weight of their pet. A full time vet and pet nutritionist will also be on hand to answer any health and diet queries.
Sir Richard Branson comments:
“The UK obesity epidemic is affecting the whole family, animals included. With more overweight and unfit pets living in the UK than ever before, we want to tackle this head on. Opening our first ever ‘Animal Active’ is a great way to do this. We hope that members and their pets will enjoy working out together.”
K9 Magazine editor Ryan O’Meara:
“It’s about time really. It seems the most logical thing to do in terms of beating the pet obesity epidemic. The only problem will be if the dog’s don’t keep up their memberships. The fat dogs are pretty notorious for starting activities only to revert back to their old ways of eating kebabs in front of the TV. Hopefully this will motivate some of the porky pooches to shed those pounds in time for summer so they can show off their beach bodies.”
Virgin Active today revealed five tips to help you check your pet’s obesity rating:
1. Check with your vet what your pet’s weight should be
2. If your animal won’t stay on the scales, weigh yourself holding your pet and then deduct your own weight
3. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs then it is likely to be overweight
4. A reluctance to exercise and breathlessness are signs that your pet may be too fat
5. Look at your dog from above. You should be able to see some indentation behind the rib cage, depicting an hourglass shape, if you can’t your pet is overweight