Easy ways of pampering your pets

Certainly, twenty years ago our furry friends were less spoiled than today. Programmes like “World’s Most Pampered Pets” have showed us how much money pet owners are willing to pay for the comfort and welfare of their ‘new kids’.

To put this in context, we have found this infographic based on a survey carried out by Multiyork that shows us some facts and figures of the luxuries of our pets throughout the country.

UK’s pampered pets_New_CS2Courtesy of Multiyork

Britain is well-known for its long love affair with animals; from royalty to families with benefits, pets are considered part of the English family, 13 million of households are home of pets, and charities like the RSPCA and RSPB are at the top of Britain’s charities ranked by donations.

Nevertheless, is a fact that families are becoming smaller, busy young couples prefer pets than kids nowadays and relaxing at home next to your ‘best friend’ is the best therapy after a long day at work without breaking the bank.

Here are three easy ways of improving your pets’ quality of life and have a nice time together without disrupting your lifestyle.

A proper walk

Is not just about having a nice stroll in the park, a walk is also a great opportunity to practice obedience skills with your dog. For example when you bump into another dog, try to practise social skills and reward your dog for a good behaviour.

Also, bear in mind there is a ‘proper’ way to walk your dog; make your dog walk either beside you or behind you, never in front of you. You are the one walking the dog no the other way around.

Regarding how long a walk should be, it depends on how young your dog is and also how often you walk him, but in general half an hour per day is a good amount for both the dog and your own health benefits.

Quality time

We’re busier now more than ever, or it certainly feels that way. We’re working longer hours, and as a result of that, we’re tending to have much more active social lives. It’s easy to forget amidst our working hard and playing hard that we have a furry friend at home, patiently waiting to catch a glimpse of us between engagements.

Even if your pet isn’t tremendously touchy feely, you might have noticed that they tend to gravitate to wherever you are in the house, even if they don’t come thundering up to you, demanding attention.

Pets, for the most part, like being around humans, even if it’s just hearing their voices, or seeing their faces. While you’re out, why not give them the next best thing and leave the TV or radio on for them? One small appliance shouldn’t bump up your electricity bill, and it might make the silence a little less deafening in your absence.

Rewards and treats

You will no doubt already know that treats and rewards are key in the formative stages of your pet’s life. To briefly delve into Psychology, the theory behind treats is to form an association between behaviours and outcomes.

Continuing to provide treats after your young cat or dog successfully performs an act that you deem to be desirable, eventually results in that action being desirable to them too because they associate carrying out that action with a positive reward.

Now, once the training is complete, and your pets are doing what you want them to, or not doing what you don’t want them to do, we tend to become lax in dishing out rewards beyond the training stages.

This is not to say that you should be rewarding your pets every single time they do something good, but the odd treat here and there reinforces their training, ensuring that they don’t fall back into old habits or start to feel neglected.

*Post brought to you by Multiyork.

PFMA – Pet obesity five years on

pfma-infographic-pet-obesity-five-years-on-march-2014

UK pet industry calls for clampdown on overfeeding,

to improve lives of our loved ones

Today, three in four (77%) vets believe pet obesity is on the rise. Despite pet obesity being a potentially life-limiting condition, new research by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), principal trade body for the UK pet food industry, reveals two in three (63%) owners feel more important problems face their pets.

Vets consider the root causes of pet weight gain to be owners not following feeding guides (72% re cats, 60% re small furries and 28% re birds), treating with leftover food (78% re dogs) and insufficient exercise, particularly for cats (46%), dogs (44%) and small furries (35%).

Zara Boland BVSc BE MRCVS, Founder of Vet Voice Ltd says: “Overweight pets, like humans, can suffer from a myriad of health issues such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There is nothing ‘cuddly’ about an overweight pet. Obesity is a disease in itself. It causes discomfort and illness that can result in both emotional distress and financial pressure for owners, and it has also been proven to reduce actual life length. We must continue pushing the pet health message until overweight pets are no longer an increasing and widespread concern.”

PFMA’s ‘Pet Obesity: Five Years On’ research arrives five years after its previous report, allowing pet owners and professionals to see how the needle has moved, gauging whether Britain is winning regarding pet slimming. New findings show that although pet owners’ awareness of pet obesity has improved, cause for concern remains – while vets feel up to 45% of all pets they see are overweight (45% of dogs, 40% of cats, 28% of small furries and 15% of caged birds), two in three (63%) pet owners believe their pet is the correct weight.

The vast majority (93%) of pet owners say they would be concerned to discover their pet is overweight, yet only one in three (37%) know how to check this, indicating that existing tools and guidelines are simply not getting enough cut-through.

THE CAUSES

PFMA is calling for pet owners to resist overfeeding and excessive treating, both heavy contributors to pet obesity – currently, two in three (68%) pet owners do not follow professional guidelines when deciding portion size, with 30% taking a cavalier approach relying on instinct. This needs to change.

Vets advise that treats should be fed occasionally and be taken into consideration at meal times, reducing the regular pet food ration accordingly. Whether consisting of dried, moist or a mixture of these foods, a daily diet suited to a pet’s life-stage and adhering to professional feeding guidelines is the best way to ensure pets receive optimum nutrition. Worryingly, nearly half (48%) of owners are feeding pets treats more than twice a day, unknowingly putting them at risk. One in three (36%) pet owners are using ‘human’ food to treat, but such treats are often unsuitable – some healthy human food treats (such as vegetables for dogs) are suitable, but others can be too high in fat and sometimes toxic (such as chocolate, onions and grapes).

As with humans, supporting diet with exercise is key in tackling pet obesity. Vets recommend exercise of at least 30 minutes twice daily for adult dogs, forty minutes daily for cats (particularly indoor cats) and four hours daily for rabbits – although the level of exercise required for any pet will also depend on its age, breed and health. Owners should always seek vets’ advice on this, as – for example – certain dogs may need longer, more vigorous walks. Encouragingly, nearly one in three (31%) owners currently provide up to an hour’s exercise a day, though there is a serious shortfall for rabbits and birds (with 69% and 78% of their owners believing no exercise is necessary, respectively).

HELP AT HAND

Three in four (78%) UK vets are running obesity clinics with high success rates (49.5%). All vets welcome questions from owners about their pet’s weight and will offer guidance on how best to stay on track. In addition, extensive pet weight management resources – including Pet Size-O-Meters and details of PFMA’s annual Weigh in Wednesday initiative – are available here. Further inspiration can be found and shared on the #GetPetsFit campaign Facebook page.

Taking its latest pet owner and vet findings into account, PFMA suggests that controlling portion size and monthly weighing or measuring are priority for any owners wanting to prolong and improve their pet’s life.

Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive of PFMA says: “All the tools are in place for pet owners and pet care professionals to better pets’ lives together – now is the time to use them. We need to engage pet owners emotionally, helping them realise that feeding and exercising their pet to optimum level can result in an extra two years of active life. To help spread the word about ideal pet weight, PFMA will launch a #GetPetsFit campaign in May this year. A host of pet experts are drawing the community of Teddington together to change its pets’ fortunes – watch this space.”

 

About PFMA
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) is the principal trade body representing the UK pet food industry, its 70 members accounting for over 90% of the market. PFMA aims to be the credible voice of a responsible pet food industry. While striving to achieve a balanced regulatory environment for the production of nutritious and safe food, PFMA also encourages responsible pet ownership working in partnership with relevant pet bodies. It aims to be the main resource for its members, general public and others as well as playing a lead role in forming opinions in Europe through the European Pet Food Federation (FEDIAF). For more information visit www.pfma.org.uk.

 

*This is an official PFMA press release – Pet obesity five years on from Thurs 13 Mar 2014