Having an overweight pet could cost as much as £1,500 in vet bills, figures show

Having an overweight pet could cost owners £1,500 in vets’ bills per visit, claims data has revealed. Common health problems caused by excessive weight include cruciate ligament injuries, urinary tract disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

Addressing cruciate ligament injuries can mean swallowing a whopping bill of £1,578.28, while urinary tract disease costs for cats are skyrocketing to a jaw-dropping £752.06.

Data from pet insurer ManyPets shows, on average, pet owners are forking out £682.65 for a trip to the vets for diabetes, while arthritis costs are coming to £476.61.

And it comes as 51 percent of cat and dog owners admit they are already concerned about their pets’ weight, according to a separate poll of 2,000 pet owners.

Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of those with a cat or dog could encounter these bills soon, as they believe their pet already is carrying more weight than it should.

And almost a fifth (19 percent) admit they are already shelling out more to tackle their pets’ fluctuating size.

The research was commissioned as part of the ManyPets “Why Weight?” report, and launch of its Obesity Learning Hub.

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 percent have been forced to make cutbacks to their pet’s lifestyle.

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

But 88 percent believe they would be able to recognise the signs a pet is potentially getting to an unhealthy weight – yet only 31 percent regularly keep an eye on their pet’s weight.

Moreover, 39 percent will only visit the vets in an emergency – all of which point to an increase in weight going unchecked.

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In a bid to help keep weight down, 76 percent do try to keep their four-legged friends as active as possible, while 75 percent limit the number of treats or table scraps they give out.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, found 22 percent of those with an overweight pet feel as if their cat or dog is “always hungry”.

However, a puzzled 19 percent scratch their heads over their pet’s weight, as they don’t believe they eat an excessive amount.

Steven Mendel added: “While many pet owners believe it should be straightforward to spot if their cat or dog is putting on weight, it’s often easier said than done.

“In most cases, gaining weight is very gradual, meaning it can be trickier to identify – especially if pets are not attending the vet regularly.

“We’re hopeful that with the right course of action, and identifying the signs early, longer-term pet health problems can be avoided in the future.”

ManyPets has also teamed up with futurologist, Tom Cheesewright, to reveal what the future of pet health could look like.

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