Pet insurers point to obese animals
Pet insurer MORE TH>N has revealed that the nation's pets are getting fatter - but that nine out of ten owners say their pets are not overweight.
09:54 18 October 2004
Pet insurer MORE TH>N has revealed that the nation's pets are getting increasingly fatter - but that nine out of ten owners say their pets are not overweight.
"A lot of attention is paid to the impact of factors such as poor diets and the stress of family break ups on humans and their health, yet what we are seeing is that our pets are suffering in a similar way," said Sophie de Pelet, veterinary advisor for MORE TH>N.
"Diet is the biggest issue as many pet foods and particularly treats contain too much sugar and salt and the fact that most owners are unaware of this is something that needs to be addressed," she added.
Eight out of ten vets are seeing a huge increase in the numbers of obese pets brought in, MORE TH>N reports - with 95 per cent of veterinarians saying that with the deterioration in the health of the animal population pet insurance brings peace of mind to owners.
The increase in weight has been attributed to over-feeding, followed by lack of exercise and poor diet, with higher levels of salt and fat being found in pet food.
But changes in the lifestyles of owners has also had an impact.
"The key thing for pet owners is to understand their animals and not to misinterpret their behaviour," said Ms De Pelet.
"Pining by a cat or dog is often read as a sign of hunger and hence owners feed them rather than recognising that it is more often than not a call for attention.
"Pets begin to log these traits and play up to their owners, and as a result, without even realising it, owners could be increasing the risks of obesity and related illness such as diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure."
Ms De Pelet advises owners to take their pets for regular health and weight checks, remember tidbits and treats when monitoring food consumption, make sure the pet has daily exercise and know what the pet's ideal weight is.