Obesity is now a huge threat to the health of our dogs and cats in Britain and the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a veterinary charity, estimates that 2.9 million dogs – a third of the UK canine population and 3 million cats – a quarter of all British cats – are overweight.

The charities 2012 Animal Wellbeing report found that 90% of dog owners and 86% of cat owners admitted to feeding their pets unhealthy treats such as cheese, crisps, biscuits, toast and takeaways.

Excess weight can severely affect your pet’s health. It puts extra strain on the limbs and back, and a recent study showed that overweight dogs require treatment for arthritis an average of four years sooner than dogs at an optimum weight. Obesity also increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes as it does in humans. Overweight cats are additionally more prone to lower urinary tract disease and are often unable to groom themselves properly.

We run a very successful obesity clinic and can give you lots of advice on diets and provide lots of free support and regular weigh-ins to help your pets lose weight. We also have a hydrotherapy clinic with an underwater treadmill which is an excellent way to help very overweight dogs to start doing controlled exercise in an environment where their bodies are supported by the warm water so the exercise is very low impact on their joints. We can use varying levels of water to work different muscle groups and the dogs really enjoy their sessions.

We recommend weekly sessions for 6 weeks to see significant weight loss and after this time your pet will be able to resume normal exercise and enjoy life more! We offer 6 sessions for the price of 5 and are also offering £5 off any initial assessments booked in January if you mention this article. We have had some amazing success stories including Dolly the Newfoundland who has lost 2.5kg in the last 2 months and Leo the Labrador who continues to lose about ½ kg a month and is now looking fantastic.

You should be able to see and feel the outline of your pet’s ribs, and it’s waist should be obvious when viewed from above. The stomach should also be tucked up when viewed from the side. If you think your pet is overweight, we can help you make them feel much more comfortable and enjoy life more.

Please give us a call at Bourne Veterinary Practice on 01227 832322 if you would like any further advice or information.