PDSA Vet team giving body condition score (BCS) on a dog
PDSA And Royal Canin Launch The ‘Big Weigh In’ To Tackle Pet Obesity
18th January, 2023 14h17
Partnership invites vet practices to join their new initiative
PDSA and Royal Canin – whose partnership to help tackle the pet obesity epidemic was announced in 2021 – are calling on fellow veterinary professionals to sign up to their new initiative, PDSA Big Weigh In.
Following the success of their Weigh Up campaign in 2021 and 2022, which offered owners free online resources to access and understand their pets’ weight throughout the pandemic, the first ever PDSA Big Weigh In initiative will take place during February and March 2023 in veterinary practices across the UK.
The 2022 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, the UK's largest annual nationally representative assessment of pet wellbeing, found that worryingly, obesity in pets doesn’t appear to be well-recognised amongst owners, with 82% of dog owners, 78% of cat owners and 87% of rabbit owners all believing their pet was in fact, the ideal weight. More shockingly, less than 1% of dog owners and only 1% of rabbit and cat owners would describe their pet as obese, despite the fact that clinical studies* have found up to 65% of dogs are obese or overweight.
Unsurprisingly, Vets and Vet Nurses estimate that 46% of dogs and 34% of cats they see in practice are overweight or obese**, alongside 86% of vet professionals agreeing there will be more overweight pets than healthy pets in 5 years’ time***, which indicates there is an ever-increasing obesity problem with our nation’s pets.
PDSA Veterinary Surgeon, Lynne James said: “Our PAW Report highlighted obesity as a top concern amongst veterinary professionals, which is why Weigh Up was launched in 2021, with the aim of raising awareness and tackling the issue. Whilst owners may deem a few extra pounds as harmless and sometimes even cute, we as professionals know the longer-term health risks.
“We found that only 69% of pet owners agreed that overweight pets are more likely to suffer from serious diseases and 65% agreed that overweight pets are less likely to live as long as other pets, indicating a significant amount of owners are unaware of the health risks associated with pet obesity. We also found that owners whose pets were not registered with a vet were much less likely to agree with both of these statements (46% and 43% respectively).
“Our Weigh Up campaign’s ‘eat well, play more and live longer’ message resonated well with pet owners throughout the pandemic, with many logging on to access our free resources.
“Now we are taking the next step and launching PDSA Big Weigh In – where owners can visit a participating practice in February and March 2023 for a free weight check. The aim is to get owners thinking about their pets’ weight and body condition score. So we are inviting fellow veterinary professionals to sign up and join us for PDSA Big Weigh In”
Alex German, Professor of Small Animal Medicine at University of Liverpool, said:“The best thing we can do for owners is to help them learn how to recognise and maintain a healthy weight for their pets, which is why I’m delighted to be a part of the PDSA Big Weigh In. I would urge all fellow veterinary professionals to sign up, so throughout February and March, we can work together to ensure our clients know how to identify if their pet has gained an unhealthy amount of weight and how to tackle this.”
PDSA Big Weigh In will take place during February and March 2023, and will highlight where pet owners can attend a free weight check at their local participating vet practice to get their pet weighed and body condition scored. A list of participating practices will be hosted on PDSA’s website, enabling owners to select their closest vet practice and arrange a suitable time to come in and get their pet weighed.
During the weight check, pets’ weight and body condition score can be recorded on a Big Weigh In appointment card, provided by Royal Canin, to help educate owners about their pet’s weight and encourage regular monitoring.
If you would like to learn more, or sign up to participate, please visit Royal Canin’s website.
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