Pet owners advised to use portion control

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Inverurie based pet store, Pets at Home, are advising their customers to exercise portion control with their pets.

Colleagues at the store are embarking on a campaign to highlight the importance of choosing the right diet for pets because 41 per cent of cats and 35 percent of dogs in the UK are reported to be either overweight or obese.

Staff are calling for cat and dog owners to pay a visit to the store for completely free weight-check and nutrition consultation**.

Store manager Neil Jack said: “Pets, in the same way as humans, can suffer from serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis as a result of a poor diet. But unlike humans, pets can’t do anything about it and rely on their owners to manage their diet for them.

“Obesity is just one of the issues which can be addressed at a nutrition consultation. For example, one of the biggest problems we see at our nutrition consultations is a lack of awareness when it comes to choosing food. A pet’s nutritional requirements change as it gets older so it’s important to know that you’re feeding the right food for its life stage.

“We’ve found that in many cases, kittens and puppies are being given food intended for fully-grown pets and also that many pet owners are unaware that their pet is ‘senior’ when it reaches the age of seven, particularly if the pet doesn’t show any signs of getting older and is not overweight or obese. Getting your pet to follow a senior recipe, for example, could help to prevent health problems later in life such as joint and bone problems.

“Worryingly, some cats and dogs are also being fed human leftovers which contain little or none of the necessary nutrients for them to lead happy, healthy lives.”

Statistics show that 29 per cent of dog owners, 13 per cent of cat owners and 10 per cent of rabbit owners are feeding their pets leftovers such as crisps, chocolate and cake – all of which can lead to serious health problems.

Some 26 per cent of owners also said they are simply using ‘common sense’ rather than on-pack feeding guides, measuring cups or using one-to-one advice when deciding how much to feed their animal.