A recent British study has found that pets in the country are becoming obese because they are being fed with junk food diets. The researchers for The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) have found that there has been a 10% increase in pet obesity in the last year itself, largely due to the fact that pet owners are increasingly feeding the animals a junk food based diet including pizza and ice cream. This has led to pets becoming obese and suffering from human diseases like breathing problems, asthma, diabetes, heart and liver problems, arthritis etc. An estimated 500,000 pets ranging from dogs, cats, rabbits and even budgerigars are affected by this.
Sean Wensley, the PDSA’s senior veterinary surgeon said, “A single biscuit is like a packet of biscuits, or a single crisp is like a packet of crisps.” There are certain foodstuffs that are safe for human consumption but in animals they can have an adverse reaction. Giving chocolate to a pet can prove to be dangerous and lead to heart failure due to a stimulant called theobromine that is contained in the chocolate. Similarly the persin in Avocados can cause stomach upsets in dogs and cats.
To try to prevent owners from letting their pets become overweight, measures are being taken and pet owners can face prosecution for cruelty to animals if they do not make their overweight pet slim down. The Guinness Book of Records has also dropped its listing of heaviest animals due to the fear that people were over feeding their pet in an attempt to qualify.
Last year inspectors from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took away a Labrador from its owners as they had allowed the dog to reach a weight of 74.2 Kg.
Helen Briggs, of the RSPCA, said, "Overweight animals tend to be made objects of fun, but it's a serious animal welfare issue." Owners of overweight pets have been advised to take their pet in for a check up to the vet to rule out any medical reason for its obesity and to get advice on correct diet and exercise for the animal.