1. ITV Report

PDSA Pet Fit Club launches for overweight animals

Photo: PSDA

Pet owners in Wales are sharing their unhealthy eating habits with their animals in a "well-intentioned but misguided attempt to make them happy," warns vet charity PDSA.

Research by the charity shows that almost seven in 10 pet owners in Wales give their pets fatty treats, putting their quality of life at risk.

  • Around one in three dogs and one in four cats in the UK are currently overweight
  • Scotland topped the lardy league table when it comes to lavishing animals with potentially deadly junk food, with 72% of owners admitting to giving fatty treats
  • Two in three North West pet owners (64%) are also loading their pets up with high-calorie, unsuitable snacks
  • London pet owners scored the best, but around half (48%) of owners are still feeding inappropriate food to their four-legged friends.

Takeaways, biscuits, chips and even alcohol are some of the high-calorie human treats being shared with thousands of pets across the country.

Sadly, seeing morbidly obese pets is now an everyday occurrence in vet practices across the UK - it is one of the biggest welfare concerns facing the nation’s pets.

It’s effectively a silent killer, leading to long-term health issues for pets that can cut their lifespan by up to two years.

Pet obesity significantly increases the danger of developing major health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, and can also bring about the onset of these chronic diseases much earlier.

It’s tragic to think that millions of pets are suffering under the strain of carrying too much weight, when it is an entirely preventable condition.

– Elaine Pendlebury, PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon

To help combat the problem, the charity is today launching its annual fat-fighting competition, PDSA Pet Fit Club.

Below are some of the pets the charity has helped over the last eight years.

Before: Head nurse Lindsay Atkinson holds Ruby the overweight Jack Russell Credit: PSDA
After: Ruby was crowned 2013 PDSA Pet Fit Club Champion Credit: PSDA
Bailey the cat with vet nurse Emma Jenkins Credit: PSDA
Vet nurse Stella Hughes with Diesel the Boxer Credit: PSDA
Diesel the Boxer Credit: PSDA

PDSA has created a range of free guides to keeping your pet healthy, including diet and exercise tips. They can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.