The People’s Dispensary for Animals (PDSA) has invited pet owners from the North East to enter their pets into the Pet Fit Club competition to help their overweight pets lose weight.
The competition will last six-months as they look to find the main problem for pets becoming overweight or obese.
To see the best results, each pet that enters will receive their own specific diet and exercise plan that focuses on what is causing them to be overweight.
The owners will take their pets to a PDSA pet hospital once a month in Newcastle, Gateshead or Sunderland for a monthly weigh-in, to get specific diet food and specialist advice from a vet.
One of the main reasons why pets can become overweight and obese is because of owners feeding them food for humans like pizza, cheese and cake as those things should not be apart of their diets.
Olivia Anderson-Nathan, a vet at Newcastle’s PDSA centre, said: “Pets don’t need human food, in fact, a lot of it can be very bad for them. They should be fed a complete pet food suitable for their age and weight, with occasional healthy treats.
“Pets also need regular, varied exercise, suitable for their health and to keep their minds stimulated.
“Excess weight can also seriously aggravate other medical problems, for example making it even more difficult for flat-faced breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs to breathe.
Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can even reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to 2 years and 6 months.”
Owners play a pivotal role in keeping their pets in shape as it is thought 89,000 dogs are not walked and on average rabbits spend 12 hours in their hutch, not moving about.
Olivia added: “With the right advice, a good diet, suitable exercise and a bit of willpower, owners have the ability to make a real difference to their pet’s lives so we’re urging owners who have overweight pets to enter.”
Recent statistics have shown that nationally, it is believed that 46% of dogs, 34% of cats and 30% of rabbits are overweight or obese in the UK as vets warn owners about overfeeding their pets.