When you go to your vet, they have to be reasonably nice to you. They need you to work with them for the health of your pet. They can't annoy you by being too frank. So sometimes, what is coming out of their mouths, is actually a highly edited and extremely tactful version of what is in their heads.
PDSA's latest Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report has found that for some pets, their daily diet contains treats, scraps and leftovers, takeaway and, more worryingly, even some foods that are toxic to our pets like human chocolate and alcohol. Levels of pet obesity are rising and our overweight furry friends are just as likely to suffer from the same obesity related health problems as humans.
Although we have recently introduced guidance to say that vets and veterinary nurses cannot refer to an unqualified colleague as a veterinary nurse, technically, anyone may use the title - even if they don't have a day of training or a clue about how to treat an animal. To put it quite frankly - the title 'veterinary nurse' has less protection in law than 'Melton Mowbray pork pie'!
Just like people, dogs and cats can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognise certain everyday substances - or allergens - as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, pets with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them.
I think we often underestimate the benefits that pets can bring to children. I often reflect about how my two boys benefitted immensely from our lovely cat Charlie - sadly no longer with us. He was an elderly stray cat we adopted and he showed them how you had to be tolerant and respect a pet's needs. In return Charlie offered devotion and a listening ear when life was 'unfair'.
You may be shocked to find out that not all vets are well trained in rabbits (many can have as little as a two week slot for exotics as a whole including reptiles, birds and small furries). This means that the majority of vets out there have very little knowledge of rabbits needs, behaviours, ailments and how to treat them correctly.
The PDSA estimate that as many as two and a half million dogs (one in three) as well as two million cats (one in four) in the UK are overweight... The report includes a survey of dog owners where nine out of ten admit to feeding high calorie human foods including take-aways, biscuits, chips and even alcohol to pets.
Worryingly, nearly a quarter (24%) of owners were not given any advice on any aspect of health or welfare when they got their pet. Many people appear to have no idea about the costs and long-term commitments involved when taking on a pet but all owners are responsible for the duty of care to any of their pets.
Sadly pet obesity is now one of the major issues affecting pet health in the UK. It's often unrecognised by pet owners, who may not notice gradual weight gain, or may simply regard a chubby pet as cuddly and well-fed. Yet, as with us humans, obesity is linked to serious problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and a shorter life expectancy.