....would you sign up your furry friend?
The UK obesity epidemic is not restricted to people unfortunately. Whilst 65% of UK adults are now overweight or obese, one third of pets in the UK are also overweight. And they are susceptible to the same obesity related disorders as we are - diabetes, heart disease, respiratory distress, high blood pressure and cancers.
The hard fact is that our lifestyle is affecting our pets. Poor eating habits and lack of activity impacts on the four-legged members of our household too.
According to new research by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), vets consider one of the main causes of pet weight gain is owners not following feeding guides - especially common for cats. Another cause is treating pets with leftover food - more common for dogs.
Vet - Sade Adeleye, BVetMed MRCVS says,
"A slice of toast for a dog is the equivalent of a hamburger for a human!".
Another problem - for both cats and dogs - is lack of exercise. Research also shows that overweight owners are more likely to have obese pets as they are less likely to exercise themselves which can mean less walks for their dog.
Nutracheck.co uk member Sam says, "Since I joined Nutracheck to lose weight, my Jack Russell who was a little tubby has had more long walks. Our favourite walk is a 40 minute walk to see my mum. We go along the river which is lovely on a nice day".
Vet Sade continues "Exercise is beneficial for dogs to keep them in tip top condition, so if you can increase your own exercise level by taking your dog for more and longer walks, it's a win-win all round. Also the more aware humans are of what they eat themselves, the more aware they are of the calorific value of treats they give their dogs. Calorie counting is a fantastic way of keeping both humans and their pets on track."
So it seems that the same rules apply for our pets as for ourselves - weigh out correct portion sizes, cut down on the treats and get more exercise.
Nutracheck for Pets....perhaps not such a crazy idea after all? If only touch screen technology worked for those with real 'pads'... In the meantime, looking after your own health by being calorie aware and losing weight, plus getting more active means there's a very good chance that your furry best friend will reap some spin off benefits too!
For your human food diary to count calories and lose weight, go to www.nutracheck.co.uk
(For more information about the latest research into Pet Obesity and advice on checking your pet's waistline visit www.pfma.org.uk)
Nutracheck co-founder Rachel Hartley, BSc (Hons) Food & Nutrition is passionate about food and diet. Rachel's philosophy is providing accurate, up-to-date calorie information to help people make the right food choices.