A worrying number of pet owners are not paying enough attention to the size of their pets’ food portions fuelling the UK’s pet obesity crisis, according to a national survey.
More than 500 UK pet owners took part in the survey, conducted by national pet food manufacturer Burgess Pet Care and the UK’s largest supplier of veterinary scales, Marsden, to share their thoughts and attitudes towards pet obesity.
The findings showed that 32% of owners were guessing the correct amount of food to feed to their pets instead of following the recommended dietary guidelines. The survey also highlighted a lack of owner knowledge in response to weight management for their pets.
More than a third (40%) of pet owners said they could improve their knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet, and 62% said they have never asked their vet for weight management advice for their pets.
Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS, veterinary director at Burgess Pet Care, said: “Accurate and regular weighing of both pets and their food portions is essential to ensure they maintain a healthy weight.
“As well as ensuring their pets are following a healthy diet full of nutritious foods, pet owners should also carefully monitor the food intake of their pets by paying close attention to portion sizes in order to avoid overfeeding, which is one of the biggest contributing factors to obesity.. .
“Obesity can lead to a variety of different health and well-being issues, including osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiac disease and cancer. To help prevent pet obesity, provide your pets with a nutritious and controlled diet and ensure they’re getting regular exercise.
“Be sensible with treats, avoid feeding them scraps and be sure to visit a veterinary professional if you have any concerns about your pets’ weight.”
Pet obesity is a massive problem in the UK and is widely regarded by veterinary professionals as one of the top three welfare concerns for UK pets.
These latest findings reveal new concerns regarding the UK’s pet obesity crisis and will help pet health professionals provide better weight-management support to the UK’s pets and their owners.
David Smith of Marsden said: “The findings from this survey have revealed pet owners don’t always recognise that their pet is overweight. Accurate and regular weighing of both pets and their food portions is essential to maintain a healthy weight.
“It’s encouraging to see that 100% of respondents answered their pet’s weight is quite important or very important to them and we would strongly recommend that pet owners regularly weigh their pets to help keep track of their weight.”
The survey also found:
> 57% of cat owners believe their cat is the ideal weight
> 40% of cat owners guess their cat’s food portions
> 45% of cat owners could improve their awareness of what foods are dangerous for their cat(s)
> 70% of dog owners have never asked their vet about weight management advice for their dog(s)
> 55% of dog owners always measure their dog(s) food portions
> 45% of dog owners could improve their knowledge on what constitutes a healthy diet for their dog(s)
> 81% of guinea pig owners know the ideal weight range for their guinea pig(s)
> 10% of guinea pig owners have never weighed their guinea pig(s)
> 26% of guinea pig owners have fed their guinea pig(s) scraps or leftovers
> 78% of rabbit owners believe they know the ideal weight range for their rabbit(s)
> 29% of rabbit owners guess their rabbit(s) food portions
> 28% of rabbit owners believe they could improve their knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet for their rabbit(s)
To see the findings of this survey in greater detail, visit the blog section at www.burgesspetcare.co.uk