TELFORD, UNITED KINGDOM — The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a veterinary nonprofit organization in the United Kingdom, has partnered with Royal Canin to address the pet obesity crisis in the United Kingdom.

“Diet and nutrition have a huge impact on our four-legged friends’ overall physical and mental wellbeing,” said Lynne James, veterinary communications manager at PDSA.

From 2018 to 2020, 78% of veterinarians in the United Kingdom reported they had seen an increase in pet obesity, which remains one of PDSA’s top five pet welfare issues. The organization shared that too much weight gain can reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to two and a half years depending on their breed.

“There is clearly much more to be done, but by working with our strategic diet and nutrition partner, Royal Canin, we are optimistic and excited about tackling this issue to help improve pet wellbeing in the UK,” James said. “Together we’ll be broadening our digital reach and we will be developing the information available for pet owners and ultimately aiming to prevent pet obesity, as well as manage the problem itself.”

According to PDSA’s 2020 PAW Report, 8% of dog owners in the United Kingdom reported their dogs gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, a trend affecting more than 800,000 dogs in the region. Seventeen percent of cat owners admitted to giving their cats more treats during this same period. The report also revealed that 14% of dog owners believe their dog is overweight, compared to 18% of cat owners.

Through the partnership, Royal Canin will help PDSA raise awareness of pet obesity through education and by offering Royal Canin’s science-based dog and cat food formulas at PDSA’s pet hospitals across the United Kingdom. Royal Canin offers a variety of nutritional weight management solutions for both dogs and cats.

“Educating pet owners on preventive healthcare and key welfare issues such as weight management as well as supporting pets with specific conditions with our advanced science based clinical diets will be the key focus for both parties,” said Sharon Hayes, veterinary NAM at Royal Canin. “The vet teams at PDSA’s Pet Hospitals will be pivotal to the success of this new partnership and we look forward to developing and building strong relationships with them while helping to broaden the reach of our educational activity.”

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