Pet obesity is on the rise with 8 in 10 vets reporting to have seen overweight dogs within the last 12 months with Pugs, Boxers and Golden Retrievers topping the list as the most overweight dogs in the UK, according to new research by Direct Line.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of vets say they are treating more overweight pets than they were just a year ago. In fact, it is estimated that a vet will treat six animals showing signs of obesity during an average week.

However, vets believe that owners are often unaware of the health issues associated with the weight of their pets. Vets believe the biggest and most common weight-related misconception owners have is that giving treats is a way of showing love.

Other common misconceptions are that vets are being overly cautious when it comes to pets’ weights (50 per cent) and that you can feed your pet more as long as it’s high-quality food (47 per cent). Vets say almost a third (30 per cent) of owners believe that obesity isn’t a serious issue in animals, while 16 per cent of owners are also thought to not believe that animals are able to become medically obese.

Eva Sandstra-Bennett, Head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line, said: “It is alarming that pet obesity is increasing. Dogs and cats being overweight is a very serious issue as it can affect joints, cause diabetes, heart and breathing problems.

“While it may be horrible to hear from a vet that a pet is overweight, owners should pay attention to their warning, as addressing the problem quickly will reduce risk of future health problems such as diabetes. Measuring out food can help avoid overfeeding and while those puppy dog eyes may be hard to resist for scraps and treats, giving in may do more harm than good.”

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