Over half of pet owners are worried about their animal's weight, study finds

Over half of pet owners (51%) are concerned about their animal's weight – as 18% believe their cat or dog is carrying more weight than it should be, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 Brits, who have a furry friend at home, found that just three in ten (31%) claim to regularly keep track of their pet's weight.

But 88% are confident they would be able to spot the signs of a pet getting to an unhealthy weight – with three-quarters keeping treats or table scraps to a minimum, while 76% try to keep their cat or dog as active as possible.

However, four in ten (39%) say they would only visit the vet's in an emergency – meaning a weight increase may go unchecked.

And this can result in some pretty hefty vet's bills – with cruciate ligament injuries, a common health problem associated with excessive weight gain, costing as much as £1,578.28 to address.

Other issues that can stem from pet obesity include urinary tract disease, which currently costs £752.06 to treat in cats, and diabetes, which can result in a £682.65 vet bill. Meanwhile, pet arthritis costs as much as £476.61 to get seen to by an animal expert.

The figures were shared by pet insurer ManyPets, which also commissioned the research as part of the ManyPets “Why Weight?” report, and the launch of its Obesity Learning Hub.

And it comes as 19% of those polled admit they are already shelling out more to tackle their pets' fluctuating size. Steven Mendel, chief executive and co-founder of the pet insurer, said: “We understand it can be difficult to resist rewarding pets with extra treats, and heart-breaking to say no to them when they’re asking for more food.

“But, with obesity-associated health problems becoming more and more prevalent, we urge pet parents to think twice to save their pets. We’re proud to have launched our Obesity Learning Hub to offer tips and veterinary-approved advice for pet parents everywhere.”

The research went on to find, with the rising cost of living still looming large for many pet owners, 22% have been forced to make cutbacks to their pet’s lifestyle.

Almost half (49%) of these are now opting for lower-quality brands of food, and 37% have reduced their spend on healthcare.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found 22% of those with an overweight pet feel as if their cat or dog is “always hungry” – although a puzzled 19% scratch their heads over their pet's weight, as they don’t believe they eat an excessive amount.