COVID-19 has had a profound effect on all of us including our pets, with recent research* undertaken in the US revealing that more than 71% of pet professionals say that the pandemic has impacted the way our pets are eating. As a result of this, over 30% of pet parents surveyed who have an overweight pet, say that their pet has become overweight since the start of the pandemic. Many of us have an emotional relationship with food so it is not surprising that we have developed this for our pets too during these tough times when we are spending more time at home.
50% of pets are overweight, but alarmingly 90% of pet parents don’t even realise this. For many pet parents the love for their pets is associated with food. “This ‘Love your pet day’ celebrated on 20th February, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is drawing attention to pet obesity and that, contrary to popular belief, your pet’s love for you is not associated with food,” says Marycke Ackhurst pet behaviour expert from Hill’s.
Food is often seen as a means of emotional support – using food as a reward, when we are feeling depressed, lonely or celebrating. Pet parents get an emotional boost when feeding or giving treats to their pet. Our pet’s reaction is seen as a display of love and affection, and we are afraid that changing our pet’s feeding habits could result in our pet not loving us as much.
“Having an emotional relationship with food can both create the problem of pet obesity and ultimately solve it by changing what’s in their bowl,” says Ackhurst, “food is actually love, and one of the easiest steps is to start with better nutrition and to be more aware of your feeding habits and the impact these have on your pet.”
So, what would you give-up to help your pet lose weight? A recent survey undertaken by Hill’s showed that:
- 49% of pet parents said they would be willing to go on a diet to help their pet lose weight,
- while 31% said they would be willing to stop checking their social media for a month to help their pet lose weight.
In addition, vets advise pet parents of the following to help manage their pet’s weight:
- 92% say that giving fewer treats will help dog and cats lose weight,
- 91% say that exercise is an important element, and
- 49% agree with pet parents that keeping their pets at a healthy weight now, during the pandemic, is harder than ever before.
“Hill’s has always been committed to ending pet obesity and helping our pet parents give their pets a healthy long life while still being able to express their love,” says Ackhurst. “If you are unsure as to whether your pet is overweight, visit your vet, who will then do a weight check and advise you on the best steps to take should your pet be overweight.”
For more information on pet obesity, weight management and the success thousands of pets have enjoyed on the Hill’s Pet Slimmer Programme visit petslimmer.co.za
Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.