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PDSA: Pet obesity causes 'daily misery for millions'

Elaine Pendlebury, PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, said pet obesity causes "daily misery for millions of pets."

Rico Livingstone, a 6-year-old Rottweiler who weighs 58.5kg, in Edinburgh Credit: Malcolm Cochrane/PDSA/PA

She added, "vet practices across the UK see the consequences of pet obesity every single day such as obese dogs unable to enjoy regular walks due to exhaustion, fat cats that can't jump or play, and rabbits so hopelessly overweight they can't clean themselves properly."

PDSA nurse Danielle Toorish with Rico Livingstone, a 6-year-old Rottweiler who weighs 58.5kg Credit: Malcolm Cochrane/PDSA/PA Wire

Survey: 13.5 million pets 'treated' to junk food

A report of nearly 4,000 dog, cat and rabbit owners has found that 13.5 million animals are "treated" to fatty or sugary treats and junk food.

  • Nearly half of owners "treat" their pets because they believe it makes the animal feel happy
  • Some 29 per cent of owners do so because it makes them happy
  • More than 60 per cent of owners think severely overweight pets should be removed from someone who persistently ignores veterinary advice
  • Over half of owners believe overweight people are more likely to have fat pets

PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report

'18 million' overweight pets at risk of early death

Poor diets have put more than 18 million pets in the UK at risk of early death, a report has found.

Cookie the cat from Middlesborough who is 90 per cent overweight Credit: Ian McClelland/PDSA/PA Wire

Veterinary charity PDSA has found that dogs, cats and rabbit are fed "potentially life-threatening" meals, including takeaways, crisps and cakes.

Bobby from London who is 65 per cent overweight Credit: Gavin Fogg/PDSA/PA

The "deadly diets" have left many animals unable to walk, play or even clean themselves, at risk of arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

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Pet owners 'must take full responsibility'

Each year there are awful stories of dogs attacking pets and people, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Tackling this begins with owners and breeders taking full responsibility for their dogs' behaviour and adequately socialising and training them from a young age.

It is also essential that young people understand how to be safe around all pets and learn how to become caring and responsible owners in the future.

In PDSA's view, this should include learning about a pet's five welfare needs at school as well as from other responsible adults around them.

– PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Sean Wensley

Owners 'are failing pets'

A majority of dogs, at 61%, had not attended training classes within their first six months of life, according to the findings.

The charity say owners are failing pets Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive

The research forms part of the second PDSA animal well-being report which claims obesity, aggression and illness are set to take over the pet population if they are not tackled.

An estimated 18.5 million dogs, cats and rabbits are being fed unsuitable diets and treats in spite of their owners knowing about the health risks, the report said.

The charity warned that an estimated 11.2 million pets are not vaccinated or neutered leaving them at "serious" risk of developing potentially fatal illnesses.

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