PDSA launch annual pet slimming club
PDSA have launched this year's Pet Fit Club pet slimming contest, as it warns that a bad diet and lack of exercise is fuelling a “pet obesity time bomb”.
Owners are being called on to ‘skip the treats and hit the streets’ as new findings from the charity’s PAW Report reveal a staggering 5.7 million UK pets, including 2 million cats, are fed treats every day, including dangerous foods such as crisps, cake, cheese, chips and takeaways.
A further 1.5 million cats are also fed table scraps or leftovers as their main meals, further adding to the weighty problem.
PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman says: “We love our pets and owners often enjoy showing their love by giving food. Nearly half of owners told us that they give treats because they believe it makes the pets happy, and 27 per cent do it to make themselves feel good. And 13 per cent confess to giving treats because their pets beg.
“Treats and human food can be high in fat and sugars which are bad for pets’ waistlines and teeth. Some foods, like chocolate, are poisonous to pets and can even be fatal.”
On top of this, according to PDSA research 440,000 cats don’t exercise daily — including running climbing or playing.
PDSA now estimates that a quarter of cats are now overweight or obese as a result, and to help battle the bulge owners of overweight and obese pets are invited to take part in the UK’s biggest and most successful pet slimming competition.
The charity will select up to 15 overweight dogs, cats and rabbits to participate in the six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored and overseen by expert PDSA vets and nurses.
One such chunky cat who will be following this regime is Charlie, who weighs more than double the amount he should!
The eight-year-old tom should be around 9lbs (4kg) but actually tips the scales at over 1st 8lbs (10kg).
His owner James Gordon, from Shotts, near Glasgow, admits to having overfed his flabby feline and says his beloved cat has ballooned after being fed king-size portions: “I’ve had Charlie for about seven years. He was my granddaughter’s cat and she was moving home so asked me to look after him for a bit while she settled in but he’s been here ever since!
“It’s my fault he’s the size he is as I was overfeeding him. I was giving him wet food, dry food and treats on top. I’d also sometimes give him a bit of meat off my plate if I was eating something he liked the look of.”
But the super-sized portions and a lack of exercise soon took their toll with Charlie, who grew so big he was unable to groom himself properly.
“He wasn’t able to reach areas of his body to groom, and the fur became very matted. I took him to PDSA’s Tollcross Pet Hospital in Glasgow and they told me he that he also had a heart murmur and urgently needed to lose weight,” James says.
The diagnosis has shocked James and he’s desperate to get his beloved companion back to a healthy weight.
He adds: “Charlie is really important to me so I’ve put him on a diet following advice from PDSA.
“He’s mainly a house cat so doesn’t exercise very much and I worry about the strain his excess weight is putting on his heart. I want to do something about it.”
Owners can enter their pets at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub or by picking up an application form from PDSA Pet Hospitals and shops nationwide. The deadline for entries is Sunday March 5.
The overall winer will win a year’s free diet food and a pet friendly holiday, courtesy of Sykes Cottages.