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Why are our furry friends getting fatter?


We all love our pets but are we doing enough to keep them at a healthy weight?

Pug on scales

A report from the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) has revealed that while the public is getting better with feeding their pets the right amount of food, almost half still believe that their dog is overweight.

Why is this happening?

overweight cat

Owners seem to over-feed pets and give them unsuitable treats like crisps, takeaways and leftovers with over 2.6 million dogs having been fed from the table.

41% of pet owners do so as they believe it'll make their pet happy.

Many owners have good intentions but aren't aware they're potentially harming the pet.

No NHS for pets

There isn't an NHS for pets so being able to rely on pet insurance to cover the costs of unexpected illness or accidents can be a great reassurance to owners.

However, as with other insurance products, it’s important to check the cover provided through your selected policy before purchase.

"A common exclusion seen in pet insurance policies is that illnesses arising from your pet being overweight will not be paid for," explains Alex Webb, pet insurance expert at

"For example, if your pet were diagnosed with diabetes as a result of being obese, you could end up having to foot the bill for treatment yourself.

Fewer calories and more exercise

dog running

Ideally of course it's best to take veterinary advice and help your pet reach its ideal weight.

TV vet and CEO of Vet's Kitchen, Joe Inglis, says: "Helping pets lose weight really comes down to two factors – fewer calories and more exercise.

"The best approach varies between pets as a program of increased exercise is usually fine for a young, active dog but less appropriate for an older one with mobility issues.

"So it's important to consult with a vet before making any radical changes to their diet or lifestyle.

"The best approach is to switch to a lower calorie food and be very disciplined on portion control.

"Regular weighing is also important to ensure weight loss is happening at the right pace as crash dieting can be dangerous, especially in cats.

"The ideal rate of weight loss is 1-1.5 per cent body weight per week."

Don't give pets treats from your plate

fish and chips

Joe also strongly advises against giving your pets treats or tit-bits from your plate.

"These can often contribute significantly to the total amount of calories pets get every day.

"With exercise, a good approach is to look for activities you can share and enjoy with your pet, particularly dogs.

"Agility classes, flyball and Cani-cross , where you run with your dog are all great ways to bond and to help your dog - and you - get fitter and lose weight."

For additional advice on caring for your pet, check out Vet's Klinic TV, an online media channel for pet lovers. 


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