On Pet Obesity Awareness Day (Wednesday 10 October) research by Everypaw pet healthcare revealed the unhealthy habits of owners causing 40 per cent of dogs in the UK to be overweight.

Dog obesity is a definite problem in the UK, and it’s important owners know how to take care of their pups for a long and fulfilled life

The study of 1,000 UK dog owners revealed multiple bad habits, including pampering dogs with human food which are calorific, contain dairy and have a high salt content. Nearly half of dog owners interviewed  admitted they give their dog human food one to two times a week, and over a quarter (27 per cent) are happy to let their dogs indulge in cheese, despite the fact dairy foods are on the list of the most common food allergies in canines.

Another common misconception is that bacon is suitable for dog consumption with one in five (19%) thinking it’s fine to feed their dogs bacon, despite salt causing potential threats such as upset stomaches and bloating.

As part of the research, Everypaw recruited three unfit dogs to partake in the Get Fido Fit Challenge, in which the dogs were given strict diet and exercise plans for six weeks, based on the advice of Everypaw vets. They were given a PitPat tracker to monitor their progress and, with a few lifestyle changes, every dog lost weight and became more active.

Feeding your dog a can of tuna, for example, is equivalent to a person eating three doughnuts.

Everypaw vet Dr Anna Foreman BVetMed MRCVS said, “Most human foods should be avoided as they can be high in salt, fats and very calorific – feeding your dog a can of tuna, for example, is equivalent to a person eating three doughnuts. It’s especially dangerous to feed dogs dairy products because, as well as being high in calories, dogs do not have the enzyme needed to break down these foods, leading to upset stomachs.

“The research shows that owners have a relaxed attitude to feeding their dogs bacon, despite higher salt foods predisposing to hypertension, heart disease and kidney problems. Raw food is an emerging trend, but it may carry a greater risk of exposure to food poisoning organisms, including E Coli, Salmonella and Clostridia.”

Rachel Mulheron, Director of Pet Insurance at Everypaw said, “The health and wellbeing of pets is our passion and we wanted to explore this further in the run up to Pet Obesity Awareness Day on 10 October. It’s great to see how much people love their dogs, but the research suggests some aren’t giving their dogs the right exercise and diet.

“Dog obesity is a definite problem in the UK, and it’s important owners know how to take care of their pups for a long and fulfilled life. Our Get Fido Fit Challenge shows it’s possible to make a huge difference to your dog’s health in a relatively short space of time, with just a few small changes”.

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