The shocking truth about overweight pets
6th January 2015
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Nearly six million cats and dogs in Britain are obese and many owners fail to recognise the problem in their pets.


Did you know that 50% of dogs and cats in the UK are overweight? Yet shockingly, 76% of owners think their pet is healthy weight.

In many cases it's the result of too many snacks and treats, and a lack of exercise. Despite the consequences of a poor diet, 90 per cent of dog owners admit to feeding their pets treats such as cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits, toast and takeaways.

And it's not just dogs and cats that are getting fatter. Hamsters, birds and other household pets are being overfed too. Golden hamsters should weigh somewhere between 5 to 7 ounces while dwarf hamsters should weigh in between ¾ and 1 ¾ ounces. The average weight of hamsters is increasingly on the rise.

Even with pet birds obesity is the number one health problem. Many birds have food lying around in their cage at all times. Because they don’t have to work for their food and don’t get enough flying space they simply eat and sleep all day - a recipe for disaster!

Many owners are unaware that their pets are overweight, which suggests there is widespread misunderstanding about what a healthy-sized pet looks like. According to the so called Purina Lifespan Study, obesity can take up to two years of a dog’s lifespan.

Overweight pets are prone to a number of diseases and medical problems, such as:

  • Reduces life expectancy
  • Diabetes
  • Locomotion difficulties
  • Circulatory problems
  • Skin disease
  • Respiratory problems
  • Low immunity
  • High operation risk
  • Lower life expectancy

So where are pet owners going so wrong?

A recent study by the BBC found that pet owners overfeed without knowing.
All pet food has a detailed description of the exact amount of food a pet should be eating, usually stated in grams, yet many pet owners simply guess the amount or feed them "by eye". In most cases, when the BBC asked pet owners to dish out the amount of food they feed to their pets, 75% of the portions were double the recommended amount. Ironically, it turns out we overcompensate for food because we're afraid of underfeeding our pets!

Top tips for keeping your pets fit and healthy

  • Read the recommended portion adivce on pet food
  • Weigh the food in a bowl before serving to the animal
  • Ensure they animal has fresh water to drink from regularly
  • Exercise your pets - long walks, regular playing/stimulation, installing hamster wheels, or whatever your pet may require
  • Weigh your animal regularly to ensure they aren't gaining or losing significant weight
  • Avoid giving pets leftovers

If you feel like you or your pet needs a little extra help in portion sizes or weight loss plans, we really would recommend you visit a veterinary clinic.

Kydd and Kydd Vets
in the heart of Wimbledon have years of experience with all issues your pets may face. Weightloss is something that may seem difficult, but it is a lot simpler than you may think. Stick to the plan and it will work!

To book an appointment with Kydd and Kydd Vets, please ring 020 8946 9925 or visit the website here


About the Author

Andrew M

Member since: 10th July 2012

The Best of Wimbledon and Merton helps to bring all the best local information to all local residents and businesses throughout Wimbledon and Merton. We also bring trusted businesses and the community...

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