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Insurer warns UK pet owners of the rising cost of owning an obese pet

Fat dog lies in its bed dog-cat-serious
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The findings of research carried out by Direct Line suggest a meteoric rise in obesity, and warn of the financial and human cost of owning an overweight pet.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 14/11/2019, 11:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:38

The Mail Online has published statistics courtesy of Direct Line Pet Insurance of the state of our pets’ health, and things are not looking good.

Accordingly, 2.7 million cats and dogs in the UK are overweight; 1 million cats and 1.7 million dogs. In terms of dog ownership, that equates to 12% of us who now own an obese dog (up by 4% from 2017).

In real terms the problem of owning a fat dog or cat is two-fold. Of the health of the animal, the risks are clear and present, but so too does the owner’s health suffer.

Writes the Mail, “The findings suggest that two million dog owners have sustained minor injuries such as bruising or muscle strain from handling overweight animals in that time.

More than half of vets have concerns about hurting themselves when treating heavy animals.


The study, which included 2,000 respondents and more than 100 vets, revealed the number of obese cases seen by vets in 2019 went up by 50%.


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Some breeds are prone to obesity, such as the Boxer and the Pug. But genetic disposition to becoming fat should not be encouraged. Instead the breed’s disposition should be an indicator to owners that special measures MUST be taken.

The insurer links the rise of obesity to the tendency of owners to feed their dogs an excessive number of treats and human food.

Direct Line Pet Insurance suggests, “Over-indulgence of animals has come to mirror the way millions of parents tolerate obesity among their children.

“Owners overfeed their pets or hand out unlimited treats as a way of showing love – a habit that can damage both the animal and its owner.”

Health and wellbeing

Dogs and cats are as prone to the damaging consequences of being fat as we are. An overweight pet will suffer from arthritis, diabetes or heart disease and will live only a fraction of its natural lifespan.

Eva Sandra-Bennett of Direct Line said, “Measuring out food can help avoid over-feeding and while those puppy dog eyes may be hard to resist for scraps and treats, giving in may do more harm than good.


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