More overweight pets than ever before are being brought into Raoul Dowding Vets in Gainsborough, and the worrying trend is reducing their life expectancy and risking their health and general well-being.
Nearly half of all dogs, 47 per cent, and a fifth of all cats, 21 per cent, seen by vets at the Gainsborough practice are too heavy, with one in three household pets now being classed as overweight.
Raoul Dowding Vets is running a major Weight Reduction and Mobility Campaign, which started on Tuesday, March 1, until May 31, to try to tackle the growing problem and improve quality of life. Owners will be offered free weight checks by veterinary nurses, along with advice on diet and exercise.
Overweight pets have a shorter life expectancy by up to two years, and expanding waistlines increase the chances of pets becoming prone to diabetes, joint problems and heart disease.
The breeds of overweight dogs most commonly seen by Dowdings vets are Pugs, Labradors, Jack Russells, Yorkshire Terriers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Head nurse, Jane Ridgway said: “A lot of people don’t realise their pets are overweight, so it is a worrying situation.
“In the majority of cases, it is caused by incorrect diet and a lack of exercise. Owners spoil their dogs by giving them too many titbits, treats and scraps off their own dinner plates. Then it becomes a vicious circle because pets can’t walk very far because they’re fat, so they’re not getting enough exercise.
“Because there are a lot of health risks associated with being overweight, including diabetes, arthritis, joint issues and heart and lung problems, it is costing people hundreds more for veterinary treatment.
“People are killing their pets with kindness. Our message is that it is good to love your pet, but don’t love it to death by overfeeding inappropriate things.”
During the three-month Weight Reduction and Mobility Campaign, clients will be offered a free pet weight check and mobility examination with either a vet or a nurse.
Once their cat or dog has embarked on the weight reduction campaign, regular progress checks will be made.
There will also be a competition for the best percentage weight loss over the three months, with the prize of a year’s supply of food.
Jane believes part of the obesity problem is that owners often don’t take the issue seriously or are too embarrassed to seek help once their pets have piled on weight.
To make an appointment for a free weight check, contact Raoul Dowding Vets on 01427 612188.