September 23, 2017

IAMS conduct new survey on pet health

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With 54 million pets estimated to live in the UK, and 16.5million of them cats and dogs, it’s fair to say that the UK is a nation of animal lovers. The nutrition experts at IAMS have put the nation’s pet parenting skills to the test, with results revealing that pet owners aren’t as animal savvy as they could be.

The survey of 200 UK pet owners reveals there is an art to mealtimes. The typical UK dog or cat will enjoy breakfast at 7.43am with dinner being served 10 hours and 55 minutes later, at precisely 6.28pm. 94% of dog owners will give their pet a daily treat, with almost a third (27%) admitting to feeding human snacks. Whilst cats are treated less often, they enjoy the finer things in life, such as tuna and chicken as snacks.

What’s more, 30% exercise their dog for less than 30 minutes each day, and 49% of dogs being considered overweight. For those who do walk their dogs daily, the average dog walk takes just over one hour for most medium sized breeds, such as Collies, Cocker Spaniels and Siberian Huskies.

When it comes to cats, they enjoy 34 minutes of play each day, often playing on their own and chasing things such as string or toys. Clearly this is very exhausting as according to UK cat owners almost all pet cats nap more than twice per day. Shockingly, only one in five UK pets sleep in their own bed, with over half (54%) seeking slumber in their owner’s bed or on the family sofa.

Dogs seem to be much more demanding on their owner’s time, requiring up to 61 minutes of play and 64 minutes of cuddles daily; that’s an additional 41 minutes of play and cuddles than the average cat requires each day! Despite their demanding nature, dog owners love spending time with their companions as 53% claim dogs are the perfect companion versus only 23% in favour of cats.

Caring for pet requires regular veterinary care; something that can be a challenge for UK cat owners. Just over a quarter of cat owners (29%) regularly visit the vet to have their cat’s teeth scaled and polished. As dental disease is a common condition in our pets perhaps this is something we need to lift the ‘lip’ on and start to look into our pet’s, mostly closed, mouths more often.

Recent reports show that 76% of pet owners see their pet as their own child, however, this new research reveals that we may need to fine tune our pet parenting styles to ensure that our pets are as happy and healthy as possible.

According to IAMS nutrition expert and veterinary training manager, Kellie Ceccarelli, there is a careful balance between what we think our pets want, and what they need to help them live a long healthy and active life:

“Showering our pets with love and affection is natural, and when faced with puppy-dog eyes, or an adorable cat brushing up against you, it can be hard not to give in to their demands. Giving in by feeding human foods, or foregoing a daily dog walk due to bad weather, may seem to please your pet, but in the long-term it can have damaging health implications, such as increasing the risk of heart problems, obesity and joint issues – particularly in older cats and dogs.

“The secret to perfect pet parenting is understanding what your pet needs to be happy and healthy. Providing a 100% complete and balanced diet rich in high quality proteins offering proven health benefits will be one less thing for you to worry about.  Look out for diets containing high quality animal protein as the number one and therefore most plentiful ingredient.”

Kellie reveals her pet parenting formula to help keep your pets happy and healthy:

[exercise and play, divided by diet, multiplied by affection, balanced with veterinary support and care, will give pet owners a happy, healthy pet]

  1. Make sure to are giving pets the nutrients they need. A diet rich in high quality animal proteins, such as chicken and turkey, will help in maintaining optimal overall health for your pet, supporting a strong immune system, healthy skin and a shiny coat.
  1. Provide flavour and variety as this can be important for cats. Most cats love an irresistible meaty taste so introduce a mixture of wet and dry foods to give them different flavours and textures.
  1. Encourage exercise in your furry friend as this is a great way of controlling weight, building and maintaining strong muscles and keeping active and at a regular weight, will help maintain a healthy body.
  1. Playtime is a great way for pet owners to bond with their pet and help keep them active. Whether it’s playing with toys or chasing things, finding something that works for both owner and pet.

Go to the vet for preventative health checks. A visit to the vet shouldn’t always equal ill health, it can be a social occasion for your pet, meeting other pets in the waiting room while they wait. Should any issues be identified remember it’s so much easier to deal with health issues early on.

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