Vet charity PDSA is searching for the UK’s fattest pets as it launches its annual pet slimming competition – Pet Fit Club.
Now in its 15th year, the competition aims to help tackle the UK’s pet obesity crisis – as the charity’s stats reveal up to half of UK pets (46% of dogs, 34% of cats and 30% of rabbits) are believed to be overweight or obese.
The most common reasons given by UK vets and vet nurses for excess weight in pets are: owner’s lack of recognition that their pet is overweight, feeding ‘treats’ or human food, and inappropriate portion sizes. All of which could be leaving pet’s health, happiness and life-expectancy at serious risk.
Since 2005, Pet Fit Club has helped 143 pets (89 dogs, 44 cats, eight rabbits and two rats) lose 513kg (80st 12lb) – the equivalent weight of a polar bear!
The 2019 Pet Fit Club Champ, Luigi the Beagle, lost an impressive 8.7kg (1st 5lb) – 30% of his bodyweight – and eight inches from his waist!
PDSA vet nurse, Nina Downing, said: “Pet obesity has been a huge problem in the UK for many years and sadly there is no sign of improvement, with nearly one in every two pets seen by vets and vet nurses overweight or obese. This is a serious health issue, one of the biggest currently threatening pet wellbeing across the UK.
“Pets who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop health problems such as arthritis and diabetes. Being overweight can also seriously aggravate other health problems, such as heart disease. For example, Pugs and French Bulldogs already struggle to breathe because of their flat faces but carrying excess inches can make this much worse.
“Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to two years and six months.”