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Britain's Pet Dogs Are Overweight And It's A National Problem

19/01/2017 13:45 GMT | Updated 19/01/2017 13:45 GMT

A study of over half a million dogs by Pets at Home has revealed the average UK dog weighs a whopping 22 per cent more than its ideal weight.

The pet retailer analysed the weights of 508,909 dogs across the country and found that Swinton in Yorkshire had the heaviest canines, with the average dog weighing 48 per cent more than it ought to. These results mean that dogs in these areas are more than twice as likely to have an issue with their weight, as the national average is still a startling 22 per cent.

What is interesting is that the problem isn't just in one part of the country, it is widespread. In fact, similar results were found in Edgware, Dundee and Beckton, where dogs were found to be 47 per cent over their guideline weight.

To see that on average the nation's dogs are struggling to maintain their ideal weight is a worry. One of the things many pet owners struggle with is not spoiling their beloved dog with too many treats and snacks. Chocolate, for example, can be harmful to their health.

However, just as in humans, eating too many treats and carrying extra pounds can have consequences for canines, including worsening of heart disease and arthritis, respiratory problems, diabetes and in severe cases it can shorten their life. Owners need to realise that obesity is not 'cute' or 'funny' but a chronic disease.

That's why it's important for dog owners to feed a balanced diet. Following a nutritious eating plan, will not only make them healthier on the inside, but help give them shinier coats and improved skin, making them much happier overall.

I should point out that not all areas in the UK matched this trend. On average dogs in County Durham's Consett are closest to their ideal weight, at just 0.99 per cent overweight. Meanwhile dogs in Bridport and Atherton were actually found to be ever so slightly underweight.

If, as a pet owner, you are concerned about your dog's weight it's easy to get advice from a vet or other pet professional. In fact, consultations can sometimes be free of charge, providing a wealth of information on the best products and lifestyle for your pet, depending on their life stage etc. To book a free consultation with a Pets at Home colleague, visit www.petsathome.com/nutritionconsultations.

Now that we are in the season of New Year resolutions, with weight loss and fitness on people's minds, let's not forget about our four-legged friends.

The towns where dogs are most overweight are:

1. Swinton (Yorkshire) - 48 per cent (over their guideline weight*)

2. Edgware, Dundee and Beckton - 47 per cent

3. Ferndale,Hounslow and Greenock - 46 per cent

4. Faringdon, Dovercourt, Cliftonville - 45 per cent

5. Blackwood, Hainault and Bidford on Avon- 44 per cent

6. Bletchley, Penarth, Chinnor, Caddington, Seaford - 43 per cent

7. Barton upon Humber, Branksome and Brentford - 43 per cent

8. Cheshunt, Kilwinning - 42 per cent

9. Welshpool, Biddenden, Livingston and Swaffham - 41 per cent

10. Droylesden, Todmorden, Radlet - 40.5 per cent

The towns where dogs are most likely on average to be nearest to their ideal weight are:

1. Consett

2. Barnard Castle

3. Berkley

4. Balerno

5. Chobham

6. Ballymoney

7. Stanley

8. Newbridge

9. Buckfastleigh

10. Maybole

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