Opinion Former Article

RSPCA Says 65% Of Animals Are Too Fat - Does Your Pet Need A New Year Diet?

RSPCA News from the press office

Tuesday 18 December 2007

RSPCA Says 65% Of Animals Are Too Fat - Does Your Pet Need A New Year Diet?
- Pet owners encouraged to join www.petsgetslim.co.uk for advice and support -

The RSPCA is urging owners of overweight animals to make a New Year resolution which could help their pets live longer, healthier lives. Put them on a diet - and sign up to www.petsgetslim.co.uk.

The call comes after a shocking 65 per cent of animals seen by vets at the RSPCA's Pets Get Slim roadshow were deemed overweight.

Pet obesity is not an issue to be taken lightly as it can affect an animal's quality of life, lead to arthritis and cause internal illnesses like diabetes, liver disease and heart disease.

TV vet Joe Inglis (Blue Peter, Vets in Practice), who travelled with the RSPCA's Pets Get Slim August roadshow, said: "I was expecting half of animals to be overweight, but at 65 per cent, the problem is even worse than I thought. It's vital that pet owners concerned about their pets' weight seek the advice of a vet. If necessary, they should put them on an appropriate diet and increase the amount of exercise they get. Support for pet owners is just a click away - all they need to do is sign up to www.petsgetslim.co.uk."

It can be difficult when a pet is begging for treats with pleading eyes. But by using the site, pet owners can share their experiences to help motivate each other to stick to the diet. People can upload photographs and stories about their pets, share their weight-loss experiences with other owners, and be voted 'pet slimmer of the week'.

The website also includes Joe's helpful diet tips and exercise suggestions, such as how to keep up an animal's diet and exercise regime during the winter months and tricky Christmas period:

· Give your pet extra attention at Christmas, not treats.
· Never give pets bones as they could choke on them.
· Remember that chocolate meant for humans is toxic to dogs and, in large quantities, can kill them.
· Keep your dog's exercise levels up by making time for an earlier walk in the afternoon or at lunchtime before it gets dark. If your pet is getting less exercise now winter is here, don't forget to reduce their food a little to compensate.
· Try to keep your exercise regime consistent - even if the weather isn't. This is particularly important for older or very overweight dogs. Sudden changes can make problems such as arthritis worse.
· Spend time playing with your cat if the cold weather keeps him/her indoors.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

· Visitors took 250 dogs and two cats to the roadshows (Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester). The RSPCA weighed the animals and owners were told their pet's ideal weight.
· Broadcast quality footage of Joe being interviewed about overweight pets is available from the RSPCA press office. Footage and photographs of overweight pets at RSPCA animal centres are also available.
· Audio of pet owners being interviewed about what they feed their pets is available from the RSPCA press office.

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099 Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 0870 0555500 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk

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Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
registered charity no: 219099
Registered office: RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS

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