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Study from Sure Petcare on pet obesity points finger at ‘pet pilferers’ and accidental overfeeding

Nearly half (44%) of all pet owners have caught their pets stealing from a co-habiting animal’s bowl, according to the results of a study on pet obesity undertaken by Sure Petcare, the pet technology specialist. The study also found almost three in four (72%) owners had over-fed their pets, while two thirds (64%) of pet owners had never used weighing scales to measure out their pet’s food.

With a recent poll of U.K. veterinarians reporting 46% of dogs and 34% of cats were overweight or obese, the study asked pet owners a series of probing questions about their pet’s feeding and exercise habits and general behavior.

Trained veterinarian and Managing Director of Sure Petcare, David Hallas, said, “Pet obesity is a complex subject with a multitude of different reasons behind why our pets are putting on weight. Our study helps shed light on some of the causes. We encourage owners to treat their pets as they would a member of their own family by measuring and monitoring what they eat and ensuring they are getting enough good quality, regular exercise.”

Results of Sure Petcare pet obesity study

The study results highlighted food stealing, overfeeding and lack of exercise as major areas of concern. It revealed:  

  • Three in four (72%) pet owners had overfed their pet;
  • More than half (64%) of pet owners never used weighing scales to ensure correct food portions;
  • Almost one in two (45%) of pet owners did not know their pet’s existing weight;
  • Nearly half (44%) of the pet owners had caught one pet taking food from another’s bowl, and a number (31%) of pet owners admitted to re-filling the bowl in case this had happened;
  • Over a third (35%) of pet owners did not know the correct recommended daily intake for their pet’s breed or size; and
  • Some pet owners (15%) admitted to only exercising their pet a few times a week.

Additional study data found nearly one in eight (13%) pet owners believed their pet had suffered weight-related health issues, with bad knees due to the excess weight, pancreatitis and kidney problems, among the most-noted conditions.

RSA insurance group, More Th>n, recently revealed that of the 12 most common pet insurance claims reported last year, half of those involved pet obesity. The data showed that pets being overweight or not getting enough exercise could contribute to the development of obesity-influenced conditions. “With the rise in obesity levels, there may be implications in terms of health care costs managing these conditions.  We hope our study will give pet owners some ways they can help care for and understand their pets more than ever before, contributing to a happier and healthier lifestyle,” said Hallas.

Sure Petcare product portfolio

Sure Petcare has introduced a number of products that can help maintain a pet’s health and well-being.

The SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect weighs and monitors food portions of pets and uses the animal’s microchip, while the Sure Petcare collar tag prevents unauthorized pets with having access to the food in the bowl. Owners can build up a detailed understanding of the unique feeding patterns of their pet through the Sure Petcare app, while any changes to pets’ feeding behavior make it easier for owners to spot potential health issues.

Meanwhile, the dog behavior and activity monitor Animo helps owners build up a detailed picture of their dog’s health and well-being from how much exercise they are getting, to how much sleep, even detailing if they are barking or scratching excessively. Animo allows owners to set and monitor daily activity and calorie-burn goals for their dog so they can see how much exercise they are getting.

About the study

The quantitative study on pet obesity surveyed 500 dog and cat owners across the U.K. Participants were asked a series of questions relating to the feeding and exercise habits of their pets, as well as their behavior and day-to-day routine.

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