The Growing Cost Of Pet Obesity
77% of vets say pet obesity is on the rise
We love our pets, and what better way to show it than by spoiling them every now and then? But as 60% of vets think that obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern for UK pets – with 45% of all the pets they treat being overweight – the true cost of indulging our furry friends is a little less tail-wagging. With a wide variety of treats on the shelves to indulge them, it’s now easier than ever to do. But with careful consideration, there are ways to pamper a pet without such treats taking a toll on their health.
What contributes to pet obesity?
From a few too many treats to leftovers from the dinner table, everyday habits can easily contribute to pet obesity. Add this to a lack of exercise (46% of dog owners struggle to give them the exercise they need) and it’s easy to see how the weight can creep up. Pet obesity is on the rise, according to 77% of vets, who claim they have witnessed a dramatic increase in recent years.
Pet obesity problems
We may feel that treating our pets is a nice thing to do, but over-indulgence can contribute to a number of long-term issues; overweight pets will have a lower quality of life and suffer pain and discomfort due to pressure on their joints. They will be less able to enjoy fulfilling exercise, and that is something that most pets would enjoy over treats. Not only does pet obesity mean a shorter lifespan, but there is also the impact on your wallet; vet-based treatment for pets doesn’t come cheap.
Reduce the chances of an overweight pet
Just as we like to indulge ourselves on occasion, there’s no harm in treating our four-legged friends. Yet when it comes to dogs, a common misconception is to always reward them with food; in reality, most hounds are quite happy with some enthusiastic praise (and plenty of belly rubs). As an alternative, brain-teasing treat dispensers both stimulate their mind while regulating the edible reward. Homemade tid-bits are also a tasty option. With a variety of recipes available online, many pups will happily chomp on a carrot stick or apple slice.
When it comes to feeding, a doggy meal plan that’s rich in protein and loaded with veggies can keep them fuller for longer. With suppertime leftovers, why not make a dog’s dinner for later (and skip an additional feast). If your pet is used to treats, try reducing them gradually, or shrink their portion sizes to compensate for the treat allowance. Increased exercise can also help pets burn off those extra calories; adding five or ten minutes to your regular circuit could work wonders. If the dog is normally walked on the lead, take them to the park and play fetch to get their pulse racing.
The future of pet food takes a paw in the right direction
While statistics indicate pet obesity increasing, industry experts are forecasting a demand for the same quality in pet food as owners would expect to find for themselves. With ‘superfood’ now hitting the pet food market, ingredients such as kale, chia and sweet potato are making their way into doggy dinners. This is a positive step in the right direction, but if you choose not to go homemade, organic, or gourmet, small daily changes to your pet’s feeding and exercise routine could make all the difference.
We love our pets and they’re an important part of our family, they're reassuring and a constant presence in our lives. Pet insurance provides peace of mind and can help to cover the cost of unexpected vet fees when your pet needs treatment due to an accident or illness.