Veterinary charity The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and Royal Canin are encouraging pet owners to #WeighUp and act on the “paw-demic” of obesity seen across the nation’s pets in its latest educational campaign.
The drive to increase education on pet obesity follows research from the PAW Report, created by PDSA in conjunction with YouGov, which revealed a whopping 1.4 million cats and dogs across the nation piled on the pounds in the 12 months from the start of lockdown.
Royal Canin has worked with PDSA to create the educational materials using its detailed understanding of pet obesity, which aims to empower owners to ensure kittens and puppies live happy, healthy lives and for longer.
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “Worryingly, the detrimental health effects of obesity in our four-legged family members don’t appear to be well-recognised among owners. Nearly a third (31 percent) don’t agree that podgy pets are more likely to suffer from serious diseases, and 35 percent don’t agree that they are tragically less likely to live as long.
“However we’re excited to launch this campaign together with Royal Canin, creating a useful free guide to help owners support their puppies and kittens to have the best start in life, along with advice on keeping them in shape as they grow.”
Clare Hemmings, scientific communications manager at Royal Canin, said: “During growth, pets create and lay down fat cells, then during adulthood these fat cells expand if the pet is overfed. The more fat cells they produce during growth, the higher the chance they will become overweight in adulthood.
“What’s even more worrying is that even if a pet goes on a diet and loses weight, those fat cells never disappear but simply empty and wait to fill up again. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight during their growth period is the key to a healthy weight as an adult.”
Overweight pets are more likely to suffer from health problems such as diabetes and urinary tract disease – symptoms tend to develop when they are younger and are harder to manage. Excess fat can also worsen other health problems – such as arthritis and breathing difficulties – as well as increase anaesthetic and surgical risks, all of which could negatively affect your pet’s quality of life.
For further information about PDSA and Royal Canin’s #WeighUp campaign and to download the free pet obesity guide, visit PDSA’s website.