Porky pets

Tuesday , 6 January 2015 by Aimee Bourke

A recent survey by Southern Cross Pet Insurance has found that 19% of Kiwis have put their pets on a diet.

The research of over 2,000 New Zealanders, carried out by TNS on behalf of Southern Cross, found that of those who said their pet had a bit of extra padding, 57% had diagnosed it themselves compared to 43% who had diagnosis by a veterinarian.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) Head of Veterinary Services Dr Callum Irvine says vets are seeing more overweight and obese pets.

“Excess weight is the most common medical condition in companion animals and has a number of health and wellness implications for both pets and their owners - osteoarthritis, diabetes and pancreatic disorders, cardiac and respiratory issues, increased surgical and anaesthetic risk, higher rates of some cancers, along with a decline in the quality of life, and reduced lifespan. The list goes on,” he says.

Dr Irvine emphasises that good nutrition and correct daily portion size is essential, along with appropriate levels of daily exercise.

“The benefits of ensuring that your pet is an appropriate weight includes increased mobility and exercise tolerance, reduced medical needs and an overall higher quality of life.”

“Your vet will be able to provide the right advice on all aspects of your pet’s health, including suitable nutrition which will depend on the animal, the breed and its age.”

He says it’s also important to choose pet food that has been formulated and preferably tested to meet nutritional standards for cats and dogs.

“While the range of food on the New Zealand market is huge, not all will necessarily meet the nutritional needs of your individual pet.”


Editor note: Conducted by TNS the online survey of around 2,000 randomly selected New Zealanders was carried out in September 2014. Responses were weighted to be representative of the New Zealand over 15 population by age, gender and region.