It's a dog's life as fat pets are given obesity warning
PET owners in Notts are making their dogs and cats too fat to enjoy life, vets have warned.
The stark warning comes after a new survey from the PDSA, the UK's leading veterinary charity, has found that more than 18 million pets in the UK are being fed diets which are putting them at risk of a miserable life and an early grave.
Vets in Nottingham say that it is a problem here too and that they see far too many overweight dogs and fat cats.
"We are a nation of people and animals that are overweight," said senior veterinary nurse Gemma Belton, of Companion Care Vets in Netherfield.
"I think it's because clients see their pets as part of the family. They give their dogs human food such as slices of toast. They also give their dogs treats if they nip to the shop or something and these treats are very fatty."
Sean Murphy, 14, of Hereford Road, Woodthorpe, has put his seven-year-old Chocolate Labrador Buddy on a diet after he reached more than 69kg in November last year. He said: "The process of him losing weight has been difficult.
"He was a terrible thief. Once he stole a chicken that my mum just cooked for dinner.
"He wouldn't take anything when we were there but when we were out we used to have to put a broom on the bin to keep him out."
Buddy has now dropped to 56kg and is on the way to his ideal weight of 35kg.
Sean added: "He had a tumour on his foot last year and had to have two operations.
"The vets tried other avenues because it was such a risk with his weight but in the end we had to take the risk and go ahead with the operations.
"He's had bandages on since December last year so he has lost all this weight without any exercise – just by keeping him on a special diet."
Conducted between March and May 2012, the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report is the biggest assessment of pet wellbeing ever.
Ben Pugh, vet at Byron Clinic in Nuthall Road, Old Basford, says: "One problem is that people's perceptions are often wrong as they're used to seeing dogs being overweight, so when a dog is a healthy weight people often think it is too thin.
"One handful of crisps is not much for us, but for a dog it is a lot."
Gemma Belton added: "Overweight cats are on the increase too.
"Cats are getting overweight because owners aren't letting them out, but are still feeding them the recommended amount of food, which is recommended by manufacturers for cats that are regularly outside.
"Sometimes we see overweight rabbits too. It is a growing problem"