A new study released today reveals alarming numbers of obese pets in the UK, with 43 per cent of vets treating dogs for obesity related conditions in the last 12 months. For one in three vets, more than half of all dogs treated are medically obese.
Obesity can be a particularly harmful condition for dogs and cats as it reduces mobility and increases the risk of morbidity.
The three most common obesity-related diseases seen by vets are:
– orthopaedic conditions
– diabetes (read more here to find out if your dog could be at risk of this disease)
– heart disease
When asked about the most common causes for obesity-related conditions, one in seven vets (14 per cent) said the cause was ‘too many treats.’ Just under one in 10 (nine per cent) cited ‘wrong’ or human foods and eight per cent said ‘too much food’ was to blame. The majority of vets (56 per cent) attributed the obesity-related conditions to a combination of all these factors.
The survey which was conducted by pet insurer, Direct Line, reported two thirds of vets (67 per cent) had seen an increase in the number of dogs being treated for obesity-related diseases over the past five years. Despite fears of a growing epidemic, all is not lost. According to vets, a little over half (57 per cent) of dogs professionally treated for obesity-related illnesses do go on to lose weight.
Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse at Direct Line Pet Insurance, says: “It is alarming to see that vets are treating so many obese pets. Being overweight is extremely detrimental to both short-term and long-term health and to see that the number of obese dogs and cats is increasing is of concern. Owners can liaise with their vet to ensure they are aware of the correct diet and exercise regime required to keep their pet in optimal health.
“The New Year provides an excellent opportunity for pet owners to start afresh, improving the health of their beloved animals. Following basic steps like providing regular exercise and ensuring portion sizes are correct will go a long way to helping dogs and cats to lose weight and stay healthy. If you suspect your pet is over their recommended weight, or if its weight is causing wider health concerns, take it to see a vet immediately.”