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Being overweight can slash a pet's life expectancy
A third of Britain's pet dogs are overweight, a study has found.
Pet charity PDSA has warned dog owners are killing their animals with kindness.
Too many fatty treats and a lack of exercise, which can slash pets' life-expectancy and cause them serious health problems, have been blamed for the obesity epidemic.
The proportion of fat dogs has jumped from a quarter two years ago. More than 3.5million dogs are now thought to be too fat.
In Glasgow more than half were found to be overweight.
Northern Ireland had the UK’s healthiest dogs with fewer than one in five judged too big.
Cats are also getting bigger with one in four now overweight, compared to one in five three years ago.
And vet Sean Wensley said the ‘steady increase’ in pet obesity was even affecting hamsters and other small animals.
He said: ‘As people's waistlines increase, so too our pets' vital statistics seem to be mirroring that trend.
‘Many owners get into the habit of feeding scraps and fatty treats to pets.
'It's not good for them and the onset of Lent is an ideal time to make a fresh start.’
Owners have been encouraged to watch their pets' waistlines
The charity PDSA said excessive feeding was the main problem.
Mr Wensley added: ‘Ultimately, it is the owners who are in control of their pets' food intake.
'Often they inadvertently feed an inappropriate diet and excessive calories.’
One overweight cat, Amber, was recently crowned pet slimmer of the year by the charity after she shed 1.23 kg since September last year.
Amber had previously weighed 7.1 kg – exceeding her ideal weight by 63%.
Amber came first place in the PDSA Pet Fit Club after losing 1.23kg
Owner Penny Faulkner, 26, from Edinburgh, said: 'You can notice a real difference in Amber’s shape – she no longer waddles when she walks.'
In second place was a long-haired black-and-white cat called Socrates from South Shields.
The biggest cat the charity had ever seen, Socrates couldn’t stop scoffing cheese and onion crisps – and at 10.1kg weighed twice as much as he should have. He has since lost 1.5kg.
His owner Bill Duncan, 52, who put his cat on a strict diet to achieve the weight loss, said: 'I’ve learned that you can make a real change to your pet's health if you want to. It has been very worthwhile.'
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