Sunday, June 3

Diet Disaster For UK Pets

Nothing short of abuse...
It now official our nations pets, mans best friend among them are suffering the same plight as 25% of our children and 60% of the adult population. The shocking news revealed in a new report concludes twelve million UK pets are being fed too many 'treats', including takeaways, cheese, crisps and cakes, often on a daily basis, which is fuelling the UK pet obesity epidemic. These are just some of the frightening findings of the biggest national pethealth report conducted by leading veterinary charity, PDSA.

What is even more concerning, according to the animal health and welfare charity, is that: 

50% of owners say they think 'treats' make their pet happy with just 2% confessing to feeling any guilt about feeding naughty treats. And with just one cube of cheese given to a medium sized dog the equivalent of us eating four shortbread biscuits, half a Margherita pizza, or one and a half burgers. -PDSA

Sound familiar? yes of course it does, it's exactly what's happening every second of every day in every home with our children and loved ones.
In response to these worrying statistics, PDSA is launching its annual search to find the UK’s most overweight pets with the worst diets. Get ready for the TV program deals coming to a screen near you soon.

So what's the present situation for our pets? The following summary released by the PDSA summaries the current situation in Britain:

Cats...nimble & agile predators?
Dogs, just over six million of them, are fed the greatest amount of junk food with 90% of dog owners admitting that cheese, toast, crisps, biscuits, takeaways, cakes and other fatty treats form part of their doggy’s diets. Cats have the second worst meal plans with 43% being given fatty treats (over five million). Rabbits have the least amount of junk foods (26%) but even so, this still equates to over 430,000 bunnies eating a diet that includes toast, biscuits, cake, cheese and crisps - a far cry from the hay, fresh greens and rabbit nuggets that they should consumeRabbit Nuggets? well not sure about that one!

The groundbreaking PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, the largest of its kind ever to assess and measure the health and welfare standards of dogs, cats and rabbits, was produced in conjunction with YouGov and involved 11,000 pet owners. The Report lifts the lid on all aspects of pet wellbeing, and when it comes to what our pets are eating, millions of pets are set to develop obesity related, life-threatening illnesses if their diets don’t improve. 

29% of owners admit to feeding 'treats', often on a daily basis, which suggests pet waistlines are set to continue to expand. Dog obesity levels are now higher than human obesity figures. 
So what are they going to do about it? 

Although the initial report and findings are to be commended, the proposed follow up action by the PDSA has a familiar ring founded in that old myth calories in calories out. The dietary advice for dogs for example on the PDSA website is:

Feeding a complete, commercial dog food is normally preferable to a homemade diet. It’s not easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make your dog’s diet yourself.  Most dog foods these days are complete, meaning they contain all the nutrients that a dog needs, in the right amounts. If extra food is given, as treats, your dog must do something with the extra calories. If your dog isn’t being exercised enough, the calories will be turned into fat. The only time you should really give food treats is when you are training your dog using rewards (please visit our puppy and dog behaviour section for more information). If your reward is a food treat, try to use something healthy such as small slices of carrot. However, if your dog is only interested in less healthy food, such as small pieces of sausage, reduce the amount of food given in the main meal so that there  aren’t too many calories on training days. 

Dinner Time! Puppies tuck in to real food.
The sad fact is that nothing will change here, nothing at all, until such time as we address the root cause of the issue. 

The bottom line is, Pets regardless of species are no different in their dietary requirements to that of us human kinds (Omnivores). 
That is we are all designed to thrive on naturally available foods specific to our genetic group. Yes Rabbits eat grass, leaves, nuggets? No, they're herbivores silly!

Dogs and Cats on the other hand are carnivores. Although we like to think they are like us, it's without doubt they are indeed meat eaters, look at the skeletal and dental evidence. So what about artificially manufactured pet foods? These are good  yes? Well, what do you think? click this link to find out what's in Dog food as an example.

The fact is all animals including people can only thrive on the specific foods their anatomies are genetically designed to process and recognise. You may think manufactured alternatives look great and taste great, but it's not food (hence obesity and generative disease epidemics )and actually it doesn't taste great it's the sugar rush your feeling (click link to watch video).

There are several issues here, ignorance, social, environmental, psychological, commercial,economical and at the heart political. But these of course are not excuses. One thing however is totally clear, almost all, from the government down to the dog walker in the street needs to unlearn everything they thought they knew about diet and nutrition.

It's high time we all woke up. Pets, people and every living creature alike need Real Food.
Sadly if you sit around waiting for something to change, history shows us it's just not going to.

This is a bottom up event, a food revolution... though it's not going to be easy, however we suggest before you show the white flag, you may want to give it serious consideration. 

Your very existence (and theirs) may well depend on it.

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