A local veterinary practice has acquired backing from a major dog food brand to launch a special clinic for overweight pets.
Steve Brown, practice manager at KirksVets of Sleaford, says they are passionate about the health and wellbeing of the animals that come through their doors and the opportunity has arisen to become a Weight Management Centre through a company they use called Royal Canin.
He said: “We have always offered a free nurse clinic to help give advice on not only nutrition, but also exercise and lifestyle for cats, dogs and rabbits. With the support of Royal Canin we can now offer a much more detailed and bespoke service for each individual pet.
“They support us to give the best possible service to our clients and their animals to ensure any overweight pets are given the best information and food needed to live a long and healthy life.”
He said the Weight Centre Status was still a ‘work in progress’.
Mr Brown added: “The current situation concerning pet obesity is quite worrying.
“Being overweight has many consequences, including potentially shortening their lives. All animals are weighed when coming into our surgery and catching weight gain early enough can help prevent a multitude of issues later in life.”
Veterinary nurse Sarah Walker is one of the team that run the weight clinics. She said they were seeing more and more overweight animals, with 59 per cent of dogs and 39 per cent of cats in the UK carrying too much weight. She added that some owners have even joined in and gone on diets with their dogs.
Sarah said: “A lot of it is our perception of what is overweight has changed as well, as we get bigger. If pets are overweight they cannot carry out their normal functions.
“We are asking people to weigh the food daily rather than just guessing - and exercise is important. Rabbits are often caged and do need exercise out in their run.
“Dogs that are overweight often have bad teeth and joint problems.”
They even have a chart showing food quantities and their equivalent in donuts.
The practice also offers pet dental clinics, pet bereavement sessions and care for older pets.
They also recently reunited a stray dog brought in with its owner. Upon checking his microchip details, they found he lived over two hours away and had been missing for three weeks.
They urge all owners to get pets chipped (it is a legal requirement for dogs), then regularly update details.