Pet owners in the Northeast are warned today that they are killing their pets with kindness, new figures have revealed.
Fat pets in the north east will die young, warns leading veterinary charity PDSA, as it launches biggest ever pet health campaign – Long Live Pets.
PDSA has released shocking new figures revealing north east pooches are the joint third heaviest in the UK, alongside those in the Midlands.
An alarming 29 per cent of canines in the Northeast are overweight, an increase of 1 per cent on last year’s figures.
The most slim-line dogs were found in London, where obesity figures stand at a lower 19%.
Nationally, PDSA statistics show a dramatic 9% rise in the number of overweight dogs seen in 2007 – 30 per cent of dogs health checked in 2007 were considered overweight, compared to only 21 per cent in 2006.
One in three dogs seen by PDSA PetCheck nurses are overweight.
The release of PDSA’s latest dog obesity figures ties in with the launch of its ‘Long Live Pets’ campaign, the PDSA’s biggest ever pet health initiative, designed to promote a healthy life for all pets. The campaign starts by addressing the weighty issue of pet obesity.
Sadly, dogs, like humans, are failing to win the battle of the bulge, with many owners putting their animal’s lives in danger by feeding them chocolate, ready meals and fatty foods.
This means that the life ‘pet-spectancy’ of many beloved UK pets will be cut short as a result of this obesity epidemic, warns the charity for pets in need of vets. An overweight Labrador for example, could have its life cut short by as much as two years and is more likely to develop chronic diseases such as arthritis when younger.
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: “Our Long Live Pets initiative will address key pet health issues, starting with pet obesity.
“It is our biggest ever pet health campaign, and our objective is to implement a number of pet health care initiatives such as our Pet Fit Club slimming competition andnational sponsored dog walk, which will raise awareness and hopefully achieve positive results for obese pets and address the burgeoning waistlines of the UK pet population.
“Each year we see a worrying number of overweight pets, which are more likely to develop conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart and kidney problems.
“Kindness can be misplaced and feeding any animal too many treats can have serious health consequences.
“The research we have done shows that there is a real need for owners to help their overweight pets lose those excess pounds.”
The PDSA study also shows that hotspots for overweight pets are areas where people are more likely to be obese.
PDSA found the number of fat dogs in the Midlands stood at 29 per cent in 2007 compared to 19 per cent in 2006. Recent human obesity figures showed the Midlands had the largest number of people classed as obese.
By TEGAN CHAPMAN