Could portion control be the answer to preventing our pets getting tubby?

A national survey conducted by Burgess and veterinary scales manufacturer Marsden reveals that not accurately measuring out our pets’ food is contributing to a pet obesity epidemic

Posted: 02 October 2019

Could portion control be the answer to preventing our pets getting tubby?

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When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, portion control is a simple and effective way to ensure we don’t eat too much. Indeed, celebrities including US actress Angelina Jolie and chef Gordon Ramsey cite portion control as the secret to staying in shape. The same can be true for our pets.

Right now, gaining unwanted pounds is not just a problem for humans. Pet health professionals have identified pet obesity as one of the top three welfare concerns, putting many pets’ lives at risk. It was this observation that spurred on Burgess Pet Food and veterinary scales manufacturer Marsden to conduct a survey into the thoughts and attitudes towards pet obesity. More than 500 pet owners took part, revealing some rather alarming trends:

  • 32% of pet owners said that they didn’t measure their pets’ food portions and guessed how much food they needed to their pets

  • 76% of pet owners do not know or are unsure about the ideal weight range for their pets

  • 62% of pet owners admit they have never asked their vet for weight management advice for their pets

  • 40% of pet owners admit they could improve their knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet yet 

Commenting on the findings, Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, says: “Accurate and regular weighing of both pets and their food portions is essential to maintain a healthy weight. Ensuring pets eat proper portions is just as important as ensuring they’re eating the right nutritious foods and pet owners should pay the same amount of care and attention to their pets’ food portions as they would their own to avoid overfeeding and obesity.”

Obesity impacts on health and wellbeing

She also warns of the problems that overweight pets can face: “Obesity can lead to a variety of different health and wellbeing issues, including osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiac disease and cancer and the inability to exhibit natural behaviours.”

Her advice is: “As well as following a healthy diet, carefully measuring and monitoring the food intake of your pets, ensuring they are regularly exercised and seeking professional advice from veterinary professionals will help to avoid obesity and ensure your pets are as healthy and happy as they can be.”

David Smith of Marsden adds: “The findings from this survey have revealed pet owners don’t always recognise that their pet is overweight. Accurate and regular weighing of both pets and their food portions is essential to maintain a healthy weight. It’s encouraging to see that 100% of respondents answered their pet’s weight is quite important or very important to them and we would strongly recommend that pet owners regularly weigh their pets to help keep track of their weight.”

The survey also found: 

  • 57% of cat owners believe their cat is the ideal weight 

  • 40% of cat owners guess their cat’s food portions

  • 45% of cat owners could improve awareness for what foods are dangerous for their cat(s)

  • 70% of dog owners have never asked their vet for weight management advice for their dog(s)

  • 55% of dog owners always measure their dog(s) food portions

  • 45% of dog owners could improve their knowledge on what constitutes a healthy diet for their dog(s)

  • 81% of guinea pig owners know the ideal weight range for their guinea pig(s)

  • 10% of guinea pig owners have never weighed their guinea pig(s)

  • 26% of guinea pig owners have fed their guinea pig(s) scraps or leftovers

  • 78% of rabbit owners believe they know the ideal weight range for their rabbit(s)

  • 29% of rabbit owners guess their rabbit(s) food portions

  • 28% of rabbit owners believe they could improve their knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet for their rabbit(s) 


If you’d like to find out more about managing your pets’ weight, we’ve lots of great advice:

HOW TO GET YOUR PET IN SHAPE
How can you tell if your pet is too portly and what can you do to help them get back in trim? Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes is on hand with some brilliant fat-busting tips, astonishing facts and useful on-line tools

A DOG'S DINNER?
How much should you feed your dog? How many times a day should you feed them? Will feeding treats lead to obesity? What foods are dangerous to dogs? Our essential guide has all the answers...

MARSDEN'S GUIDE TO KEEPING YOUR DOG FIT AND HEALTHY
How to tell if your dog is overweight, what factors contribute to obesity and tips on how to control food consumption

CAT FOOD IN THE HEADLINES
Recent newspaper reports have revealed some shocking news about the food that some owners dish out to their pet cats, with some not even realising that felines are carnivores. Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes explains the specific nutritional needs of felines

MAKING HAY-TIME PLAYTIME FOR BUNNIES
Rabbits need to eat their own body size in hay every day to stay healthy. Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes advises on how to help your bunnies munch their way through their daily ration by making hay-time a fun experience

FEEDING LIFE STAGE FOODS
Meeting the nutritional needs of our pets at different stages of their lives provides real benefits, as our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes explains

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT YOUR PETS' DIETS:

Guinea pigs

Chinchillas

Ferrets

Hamsters

Rats

Degus


About Burgess Pet Care

We’re one of the UK’s leading pet food manufacturers. As a family-owned business with over 300 years of history, the health and wellbeing of animals is Burgess Pet Care’s number one goal and their expert knowledge in animal nutrition helps them achieve this. Burgess Pet Care strongly believes in responsible pet ownership, supporting welfare and education as well as making healthy, nutritious pet food. They actively work with a number of leading charities to help educate and raise awareness around animal welfare needs and are the main organisers of Rabbit Awareness Week, the UK’s biggest and best rabbit welfare campaign. 

About Marsden

For over 90 years, both the UK medical profession and British industry have relied on the Marsden Weighing Machine Group for reliability, accuracy and value for money. Marsden veterinary scales are used by the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs & Cats’ Home. With one of the largest ranges of veterinary scales in the UK, Marsden animal scales are used by vets, breeders, pet owners, zoos and shelters.

 

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