PDSA partners with Royal Canin to tackle growing obesity epidemic

PDSA has announced it is partnering with Royal Canin, in a move to address the UK’s worsening pet obesity crisis.

The charity, which provides free and low-cost veterinary care to pets in need, will be working with Royal Canin to raise awareness of rising rates of obesity – made worse by lockdown – and help owners manage their pets’ weight to enable them to live long, healthy and happy lives.

PDSA Veterinary Communications Manager Lynne James: “We’re delighted to be working with Royal Canin to improve pet nutrition and welfare for the UK’s pets. Diet and nutrition has a huge impact on our four-legged friends’ overall physical and mental wellbeing. So, as well as exclusively supplying Royal Canin’s prescription and life-stage foods at our UK-wide PDSA Pet Hospitals, we will also be collaborating to help educate owners on how to keep their pets happy and healthy.

“Worryingly our 2020 PAW Report found that 8% of owners reported their dog had gained weight during lockdown – affecting over 800,000 dogs – and 6% of cat owners said their pet piled on the pounds, with 17% overall admitting to giving their feline friends more treats.

“Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can sadly reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to 2 years and 6 months for certain breeds**. However, with the right advice, a good diet, suitable exercise and a bit of willpower, owners have the ability to make a real difference to their pets’ lives. We are excited to help address this together with Royal Canin and we look forward to linking our work promoting the five animal welfare needs with their extensive knowledge and experience of pet diet and nutrition.”

Royal Canin’s Sharon Hayes said: “PDSA is a lifeline to many pets and their owners across the country and we’re very proud to be working alongside the charity to help provide excellent health care access to all pets. The Royal Canin mission “To Make a Better World for Pets” is very much aligned to PDSA’s mission “Together we will improve the life of every pet”, which forms the basis of this great partnership.

“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. 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.”

Lynne concluded: “Obesity has consistently remained a top welfare concern of vet professionals since we first started collecting data for our PAW Report back in 2011. And in 2020, 78% of vet professionals say that they’ve seen an increase in pet obesity in the last two years. 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. 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.”

For more information, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/royal-canin