The pet obesity crisis in the UK is a constant source of news. It is worrying. I was surprised to read in today’s Times newspaper that nearly two-thirds of UK veterinarians said that they had sustained an injury when treating an overweight cat or dog. I’ll have to presume that the report means that the injury was caused by lifting a heavy dog although the most obese cats might cause injury to veterinary staff.
In order to minimise the risk of injury, UK vets are investing in lifting equipment believe it or not. Two in five veterinary clinics have bought extra lifting equipment to help them handle obese pets safely. There is probably an insurance aspect to this as well as veterinarians have a duty to ensure that their staff work in a safe workplace.
Some have also bought treadmills to encourage pets to lose weight. It seems that the cat and dog owning public are not heeding the warnings of vets about the dangers of obesity which by the way means an excess of fat such that the animal’s health is adversely affected. People don’t listen to their doctors too in respect of their own weight too as the latest figures tell us that 64 percent of Britons are overweight or obese.
The experts have consistently said that owners are to blame (who else can you blame?) in feeding their cats and dogs too much human food such as cheese and bacon. The online veterinary practice, Vets4pets say that about 30 grams of cheese (an ounce) is the human equivalent of three chocolate bars.
Research indicates that in the UK more than 1.7 million dog owners and a million cat owners have been told that their companion animal is overweight. These large numbers suggest that 12 percent are overweight. Two years ago the figure was 8 percent. Although I have seen much larger estimates, up to around 50 percent but these may relate to the US where the problem, if anything, is worse. Among dogs, pugs are the worst affected with three-quarters being fat.
“It is alarming that pet obesity is increasing. Dogs and cats being overweight is a very serious issue as it can affect joints, cause diabetes, heart and breathing problems.”
There has been a corresponding increase in Type II Feline Diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
“Most [US] veterinarians agree that they are seeing more and more feline diabetic patients as time goes by….” – Dr Elizbeth M Hodgkins DVM in her book Your Cat.