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Gloucestershire's growing fat pet problem

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

Ruby the PDSA slimmer of the year award winning dog

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THE weight of cats and dogs across Gloucestershire is ballooning as owners are feeding them take-aways, chips and other fatty treats despite knowing it is bad for their health.

Giving pets with chocolate, biscuits and even alcohol is fuelling an animal obesity crisis and one in three dogs nationally are overweight, says a national charity.

Jason Burgess, a partner at Wood Veterinary Hospital in Quedgeley, says he sees fat animals on a daily basis and his free weight check clinic aims to tackle the problem.

He said: “We have seen some that are almost double the weight they should one cat was 12.5kg and the average is about four to five, so there are big problems.

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“A biscuit for them is equivalent to us eating a burger.”

He said many of the overweight animals he has encountered suffer from conditions like heart disease, arthritis and diabetes and those which suffer from bone and joint conditions cannot walk as far.

“It is a downward spiral,” Mr Burgess said.

Research by the PDSA has found that 58 per cent of pet owners in the South West give their animals fatty treats, despite the fact that nationally more than 90 per cent realise the resulting obesity can reduce their pet’s lifespan.

Around two and a half million dogs, one in three, and more than two million cats, one in four, across the country are classed as being overweight.

Richard Aspinall, director at AAS Vets Group in Abbeydale, said this is a common problem and has stressed the need that animals should be given exercise and a balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle – just like a human.

Mr Aspinall said: “Quite a lot of these are fed inappropriate things. They are peoples’ pets and they are loved and when a dog puts a head on somebody’s knees and looks up at them, they can’t resist.

“We constantly say to people, your cat or dog should have a balanced diet and obviously one that is low in calories.”

To help tackle the problem, the charity is launching the fat-fighting PDSA Pet Fit Club. Over the last eight years, it says the contest has transformed the lives of some of the country’s fattest pets.

Elaine Pendlebury, senior vet for the PDSA, said: “Morbidly obese pets is now an everyday occurrence in vet practices across the UK - it one of our biggest welfare concerns.

“It is effectively a silent killer leading to long-term health issues which can cut their lifespan by up to two years.”

Visit: PDSA healthy pet advice

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  • Kay_Powell  |  March 30 2014, 11:54PM

    There was some woman who was successfully prosecuted not too long ago because she fed her dogs on pizza and other human food - and one of the dogs became so thin that it was considered to be cruelty. I can't remember her name, unfortunately.

    |   -17
  • Mikejh62  |  March 30 2014, 4:44PM

    At what point do the RSPCA get involved and start prosecuting these owners for abusing their pets in this way?

  • bonzaharris1  |  March 29 2014, 9:04PM

    No Apothegm, I do not have a dog I have a lazy cat and I have to weigh out her food daily to stop her becoming a bit of a porker !!

  • Apothegm_  |  March 29 2014, 8:20PM

    I do apologise, Mrs Harris, for the ms-identification! (By the way, is your dog called Bonzo?!)

  • RWT1203  |  March 29 2014, 7:58PM

    Dogs have three main concerns in life, the pack (it's family), it's territory (it's home) and food. It should be fed a BALANCED diet which contains an appropriate quantity of all nutrients. If you give your dog treats then the amount of food fed should be reduced to prevent weight gain. Obesity will cause arthritis, heart failure, breathing problems, reduced liver function, reproductive problems and diabetes. If you have an obese dog it should be taken to a Vet before a sliming diet is commenced to ensure there is no underlying disease or problem. Finally, if the dog is not your's DON'T give it treats or anything else without asking and informing the owner what you are giving it!

  • bonzaharris1  |  March 29 2014, 7:21PM

    and its Mrs Harris, Apothegm it cost a lot of money for that title .... and I am not a bra burner !!

  • jackson99  |  March 29 2014, 7:10PM

    Its more likely due to pets watching all these fast foods adverts on telly. Just proves they should be banned.

  • bonzaharris1  |  March 29 2014, 7:08PM

    Apothegm, their pets will live a lot longer if they spent money on proper food for their pets, and also save on vets bills on through having to have their pets treated for eating sh*t. If you are not prepared to spend money on feeding your pets properly, don't have them.

  • Apothegm_  |  March 29 2014, 7:00PM

    Ms Harris, would you consider the possibility that "supermarkets have aisles dedicated to pet food" because they make £lots of money by selling it? Not really much concern for pets there...

  • bonzaharris1  |  March 29 2014, 5:27PM

    It beggars belief that these moronic idiots feed their pets the same rubbish they stuff down their greedy throats. Animals do not have the same digestive system as we do, that is why there are aisles in supermarkets dedicated to pet food, for goodness sake feed your pet properly, failing to do so is cruel and abusive. Yes Fido might wolf down a curry and chips and enjoy it but does him no good. Pet foods have the required vitamins and nutrients your pet needs to keep them healthy, curry and chips don't and strangely they do find pet food quite tasty. Animals lives are short enough as it is, if you really care for your pet you would feed them properly and let them have a full life., rather than a short one full of ill health.