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Pet Owners urged to weigh their pets as risk of a supersized nation grows

New research out today highlights that pet obesity is rapidly reaching crisis point but owners can take some simple steps to take control.....

 

PET OWNERS URGED TO WEIGH THEIR PETS AS RISK OF UNHEALTHY SUPERSIZED PET POPULATION SET TO GROW

 

  • 20% of pet owners with overweight pets do not acknowledge the problem
  • Nearly 50% of pets visiting the vets are overweight[1]
  • 92% of pet owners with overweight pets do not see pet obesity as a life threatening risk
  • Keeping pets in the ideal weight range could add as much as 2 years to their life span
  • Experts warn the issue of obesity is rapidly reaching a crisis point
  • Currently the highest UK pet population on record as pets outnumber humans by 7m²

 

New research by the PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers Association) highlights the mismatch between owners’ perception of their pet’s body condition and the reality.  The research shows that a whopping 20% of pet owners think their pets is a healthy weight, when they are actually overweight or obese. With vets claiming that nearly half of all pets they see are overweight, Practising clinical and TV Vet Zara Boland, predicts that the issue of obesity is rapidly reaching a crisis point unless owners take action now.

 

In response, the PFMA is calling for pet owners across the breadth of Britain to take note of their animals increasing waist line by taking part in their nationwide ‘Weigh in Wednesday’ Campaign, starting from the 8th May.  The campaign has been developed to encourage pet owners to identify their pet’s body condition and then empower them to work towards the ideal body condition, helping them to lead healthier, longer lives. Pet owners can chart their pets progress using specially designed tools and share their experiences using #weighinweds. Involving vets, pet retailers, pet food manufacturers, groomers, pet charities and welfare groups this is the first time all bodies have come together to encourage pet owners to take action.

 

Zara Boland (MRCVs) said: “The issue of obesity is rapidly reaching a crisis point. Obesity has been linked to health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease,whilst it’s inflammatory effect is known to worsen problems like arthritis. With estimates of up to 50% of pets exceeding their ideal body condition and recent reports highlighting that 18.5 million pets in the UK are regularly fed inappropriate diets, the need for  pet owner’s education and positive action is now. Collectively we can achieve far more than working alone.”

Michael Bellingham PFMA CEO said: “In highlighting the growing issue of pet obesity we are hoping to raise owners’ awareness of their pets’ body condition. It’s easy to check your pets’ body condition with the Pet Size-O-Meter – an easy to use, downloadable tool - or arrange a check up with your local vet. If your pet is scored as overweight we are providing the help to do something about it. Pet owners can visit their local pet care professional or go to www.pfma.org.uk/weighinwednesday for advice, easy to use tools, body condition logs and a food diary to help them achieve the perfect pet body condition.”

Research has shown that by maintaining an ideal body weight pets can extend their lifespan by up to 2 years³.  Each Wednesday in May, starting on the 8th, pet owners are encouraged to take action by speaking to their local vet, pet retailers or going online to www.pfma.org.uk/weighinwednesday to download easy to use tools. Resources available include Pet Size O Meters to check body condition, a weight and body condition log, food diary and lots of tips and information on how to reach a good body condition.

 

Research stats:

·         Two thirds of pet owners are aware that obesity can lead to shortened lifespan, but just over half still need to act on it

·         42% know the health risks  yet would still agree it makes their pet more cuddly

·         When told their pet is overweight by their vet 70% of pet owners say they are aware of the issue and feel uncomfortable about it, but have ignored it

 

ENDS

 

For further information, interview requests or images please contact Amy, Bethan or Edwina at TASTE PR on 0207 242 2844

 

Notes to Editors

·                     Headline research conducted online by Taylor Mackenzie Research (MRS) for PetPanel. All surveys were completed online in March 2013. The panel is made up of 1042 responsible pet owners of whom 80% have visited a vet within the past year. Amongst the panel 69% have dogs, 52% have cats, 16% fish, 12% small pets (rabbits & guinea pigs), 5% reptiles

·                     ¹PFMA 2012 Health and Nutrition Survey for Veterinary professionals (vets and vet nurses)

·                     ²PFMA Pet Population research conducted by TNS

·                     ³Richard D. Kealy et al., JAVMA, Vol 220,2002

·                     For all the tools you need to check if your pet falls within the ideal body weight range and             some handy tips to maintain a sensible feeding and exercise routine visit              www.pfma.org.uk/weighinwednesday

 

·                    The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) is the principal trade body representing the UK pet food industry, it’s 70 members account for over 90% of the market. PFMA aims to be the credible voice of a responsible pet food industry. While striving to achieve a balanced regulatory environment for the production of nutritious and safe food, PFMA also encourages responsible pet ownership working in partnership with relevant pet bodies. It aims to be the main resource for its members, public and others as well as playing a lead role in forming opinions in Europe through the European Pet Food Federation (FEDIAF). For more information on the PFMA: www.pfma.org.uk



 

 

 

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