If you are someone who likes to pamper your pet with extra food and treats, you might want to just stop. The problem with obesity and diabetes in dogs and cats has grown, and giving them all that extra food could be a contributing factor.
According to a study by British pet insurer Animal Friends, the number of cats and dogs diagnosed with diabetes has increased 900 percent in Britain in the last five years. These dogs and cats are fat, and one of the main reasons that diabetes has skyrocketed amongst Britain’s pampered pets is due to weight gain, according to UK veterinary charity The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
“We know that pet obesity is a growing problem in the UK, and we know diabetes is an obesity-related condition,” a PDSA expert told The Telegraph. “If owners are unsure what to feed their pets, or are concerned about their weight, they should always seek advice from their vet.”
The study gleaned data from 9,000 pets and found that cats are the most at risk of diabetes. It noted a 1,161 percent increase in diabetes in cats since 2011, while diabetes in dogs has increased by 850 percent. The cat breed most prone to be diagnosed with diabetes is the British Shorthair, followed by Burmese, Foreign Shorthair, Maine Coon and Abyssinian. The West Highland Terrier tops the list for dogs, followed by the Labrador Retriever, King Charles Spaniel, Husky and Miniature Schnauzer.
The study also found that in 2011 only 309 cats and dogs had been diagnosed with diabetes. Last year that number was pegged at 2,877.
The PDSA said people need to feed their animals a healthy and balanced diet based on the animal’s species, age and lifestyle to avoid diabetes.
“Follow the pet food packet guidelines on quantity and weigh out food to prevent overfeeding. Cut out the treats, as these can be very high in calories and, however tempting it may be, don’t feed your pet human food — this is a common cause of pet obesity,” the PDSA said.