‘Big Weigh In’ returns to tackle pet obesity

‘Big Weigh In’ returns to tackle pet obesity

PDSA and Royal Canin are working together to tackle the pet obesity epidemic – and are calling on fellow veterinary professionals to join them for the PDSA Big Weigh In 2024.

Now in its second year, veterinary practices across the UK are invited to join the campaign and help pet owners in their local area find out their pet’s weight.

The 2023 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, the UK’s largest annual nationally representative assessment of pet wellbeing, found that worryingly, on average, veterinary professionals estimate that almost half – 46% – of dogs, and 43% of cats are overweight or obese.

“Our PAW Report has consistently highlighted obesity as a top concern amongst veterinary professionals, which is why Weigh Up was launched in 2021, with the aim of raising awareness and tackling the issue,” explains PDSA Veterinary Surgeon, Lynne James.Whilst owners may deem a few extra pounds as harmless and sometimes even cute, we as professionals know the longer-term health risks.

“Worryingly, our PAW Report 2023 also found 5% of dog owners last weighed their pet more than 12 months ago, equating to 520,000 dogs. Of those owners, 51% (270,000 dog owners) told us they didn’t feel it was necessary and 17% (86,000 dog owners) said they didn’t want to pay to take their dog to the vets to get them weighed – which is why the PDSA Big Weigh In is such an essential initiative to highlight to owners the importance of a healthy pet weight.”

Vet practices that sign up to the PDSA Big Weigh In will offer pet owners a free weight check in February and March 2024, with the aim of getting owners to think about their pets’ weight and body condition score.

During the weight check, pets’ weight and body condition score can be recorded on a Big Weigh In appointment card, provided by Royal Canin. Owners will be signposted to further materials to help educate them about their pet’s weight and encourage regular monitoring, as well as support with weight loss if needed.

Royal Canin Professor Alex German, Professor of Small Animal Medicine at University of Liverpool, backed the campaign, saying: “I’m delighted to once again be part of the PDSA Big Weigh In. Obesity in pets continues to be a huge issue year on year and one that needs us to come together to tackle.

“I would urge all fellow veterinary professionals to sign up, so we can work together to ensure our clients know how to identify if their pet has gained an unhealthy amount of weight and how to deal with this.”

PDSA Big Weigh In will take place in February and March 2024. A list of participating practices will be hosted on PDSA’s website, enabling owners to select their closest vet practice and arrange a suitable time to come in and get their pet weighed.

If you would like to learn more, or sign up to participate, please visit   https://bit.ly/BigWeighInSignUp