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In pictures: Obesity crisis for pets on diet of junk food
27 March 2014
Last updated at 10:37
Vet charity PDSA says more than 10 million pets are getting fatty treats, because of their owners unhealthy eating habits.
Research from animal charity, the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), suggests that nine out of 10 owners give their pets high-calorie treats such as takeaways, biscuits, chips and even alcohol.
The charity said it was due to owners sharing their own unhealthy eating habits with their pets in a "well-intentioned but misguided attempt to make them happy".
Elaine Pendlebury, PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, said: "It's effectively a silent killer leading to long-term health issues for pets that can cut their lifespan by up to two years."
Veterinary Nurse Amanda Shearsby with overweight cat Lucky. The figures mean that of the UK's estimated 18 million pets around 2.5 million dogs (one in three) and more than two million cats (one in four) are currently overweight, the PDSA claimed.
Pets in Scotland were the worst affected, with 72% of owners admitting that they give their animals unsuitable junk food, followed by animals in Wales (69%) and north-west England (64%).
Border Collie Zed is overweight. The charity PDSA is announcing its annual Pet Fit Club, which has been running for the last eight years. The survey of 2,078 pet owners found that Londoners scored the best, but almost half (48%) continue to over-indulge their dogs, cats and rabbits.
PDSA says 2.5 million dogs and 2 million cats are currently overweight. Dr Philippa Yam, leading animal obesity expert at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, said: "PDSA's findings are very worrying and demonstrate that diet remains one of the most misunderstood welfare needs for pets."
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