Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Source: Sunday Telegraph
The UK Sunday Telegraph reported this week:

The waistlines of Britain’s pets have expanded to ever greater dimensions, with a new report revealing that almost half of cats and dogs are now regarded by vets as obese. The new study suggests the numbers of overweight animals has soared in the last five years, and claims that the cost of treating pets for obesity-related conditions is now around £215 million a year.

The problem is worst in dogs, with vets reporting that 45 per cent of those they treat are obese or overweight. The situation is little better in cats (40 per cent), while it was also noted in almost a third of small animals, like rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs (28 per cent). Even pet birds now suffer with their weight, with problems observed in 15 per cent.

Is this about exercise? Mainly not:

One in three owners admitted feeding their animals “human” food, while the numbers giving them leftovers had risen by 28 per cent in the last five years. Vets believe this is the leading cause of pet weight gain – responsible for eight out of ten cases in dogs. 

Is that all?  No:

[S]ome experts have started to blame pet food manufacturers themselves for making obesity problems worse. David Jackson, a former pet industry nutritionist, has set up a website – whichdogfood.co.uk – where he analyses the contents of various brands. 

It discovered salt, sugar, oils and fats in a number of leading brands and found chicken dinners containing just four per cent chicken. Some pet nutritionists and behaviourists argue that, just as with children’s junk food, pet food today is at least partly responsible for an epidemic of animal obesity, as well as some behavioural issues. 

I don't know even how to begin thinking about this. How does all this make you feel? Should we care? If so, what's to be done?


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