Owners 'killing fat pets with kindness'

Overfeeding and too many treats can shorten an animal's life

Dog shaking off water

Many of Britain's dog and cat owners have let their animals get overweight and should be less generous with their treats, a leading animal charity has claimed.

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) says that more than a third of dogs (2.9million) and a quarter of cats (3 million) are overweight or obese.

And the chubby pooches and moggies face a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, the charity has warned.

The PDSA's Sean Wensley said: "Excess pounds can contribute to a number of serious health conditions and, sadly, it does reduce life expectancy.

"We have found that many owners are unaware that their pets are overweight, which suggests there is widespread misunderstanding about what a healthy-sized pet looks like.

"Sadly, many owners are continuing to feed inappropriate diets to their pets. Owners may think they are showering their pets with love but they are actually, in effect, killing them with kindness."

A survey conducted by the PDSA found that a whopping 90 per cent of owners admitting giving their animals treats such as cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits, toast and even takeaways.

Mr Wensley continued: "If a pet does need to shed a few pounds then the first thing to do is to cut out the treats and start following packet feeding guidelines closely, using weighing scales to check you are getting the amounts right."

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