IAMS challenges British pet parents to make a paws-itive change to their pet’s life.

• 49% of dogs and 44% of cats in the UK now considered overweight or obese
• Despite this, 70% of owners ‘treat’ their pet to human food which can lead to weight gain
• Naan bread, muffins and cereal among the foods given to pets
• 15% claim their pet guilt trips them into giving up titbits and treats
• The IAMS Pet Pledge has launched to encourage owners to give pets a happy and healthy lifestyle

With a shocking 49% of dogs and 44% of cats in the UK now considered overweight or obese by vets, it’s time for pet lovers to take action with the IAMS Pet Pledge. Whether it’s a promise to improve their nutrition, more weekend walkies or those purrfect snuggles, IAMS is encouraging owners to make a pledge this new year for happier and healthier family pets all over the country.

The IAMS Pet Pledge launches as new research reveals that despite that fact that almost three quarters (72%) of us understand the negative health impacts of sharing our meals, most owners (70%) will still ‘treat’ their pet with human food. And almost a quarter (24%) of pet lovers are guilty of giving their pet daily human titbits as they believe that they enjoy the taste, despite what impact it may have on their health.

With one in ten (11%) believing that their pets prefer human treats, and a further 15% giving into their furry friend’s yearning look, it poses the question – do we believe the way to our pets’ hearts is through sharing our food?

It’s not just diet that needs a new year overhaul for our pets, as many are lacking in regular, quality exercise with 30% exercising their dog for less than 30 minutes each day.

Over half of those surveyed claimed the perfect feeding routine is two healthy and balanced meals but with treats in between. And the typical UK dog or cat will enjoy breakfast at 7.43am with dinner being served 10 hours and 45 minutes later, at precisely 6.28pm. Plenty of time in-between meals for those unnecessary treats.

Cat lovers are more concerned about how their feline friend feels about the dish they are serving, expressing concerns about liking the taste, seeking variety and even believing that our food is better for them. Whereas, those with pet pooches literally serve up a dog’s dinner, with a whopping 44% admiting they feed the family dog leftovers!

Other ‘treats’ given to pets include naan bread, muffins and cereal. Rather shockingly, 14% of pet owners will share foods they know could upset their pet’s health, with one in five admitting their cat or dog has suffered from vomiting or diarrhoea as a direct result of eating human food that they have given them.

It’s not just diet that needs a new year overhaul for our pets, as many are lacking in regular, quality exercise with 30% exercising their dog for less than 30 minutes each day. For those who do walk their dogs daily, the average dog walk for most medium sized breeds takes just over one hour (one hour and four minutes to be exact).

As the survey shows, we feed our pets treats because we believe they enjoy the taste and it makes them happy. To ensure your pet is truly happy, we have to make sure they’re healthy. That’s why we’re launching the IAMS Pet Pledge

When it comes to cats, they enjoy 34 minutes of play each day, often playing on their own and chasing things such as string or toys. Perhaps this could be a reason why only one in ten (10%) cat owners believe exercise is a key factor in maintaining overall health (vs. 41% of dog owners).

The research also asked pet owners when their pet was at their happiest, and for dogs it was when going for a walk and for cats it was sleeping in the same bed as their owners – proving that human interaction is more important to our pet’s happiness than human food!

According to IAMS Nutrition Expert and Veterinary Training Manager, Kellie Ceccarelli, the secret to your pet’s wellness is all about understanding what your pet needs to be happy and healthy.

“As a pet parent myself, I completely understand how hard it is to say no when faced with puppy-dog eyes, or a little meow begging for a taste of something you are eating. Although some human foods are not harmful, such as boneless chicken or white boneless fish, some human foods can be dangerous. Feeding titbits often leads to obesity, which in turn increases the risk of heart problems, diabetes and joint issues.

As the survey shows, we feed our pets treats because we believe they enjoy the taste and it makes them happy. To ensure your pet is truly happy, we have to make sure they’re healthy. That’s why we’re launching the IAMS Pet Pledge; asking people to make a promise to their pet that we hope will become a lifelong commitment to their health through nutrition, activity,play and of course, plenty of cuddle time.”

Join IAMS, by making a pledge to your pet at www.iams.co.uk/iams-pet-pledge. Whether it be through improving their nutrition, more weekend walkies or those purrfect snuggles, the IAMS Pet Pledge is a community for pet owners to share their own experiences and pick up helpful advice from the nutrition experts at IAMS.

This is a guest essay by Kellie Ceccarelli. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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