Pooch paunch isnt just puppy fat

Vet Phillipa Rich said pets needed a healthy diet.
Vet Phillipa Rich said pets needed a healthy diet. Meghan Kidd

SLIPPING your pooch a cookie may seem innocent, but the human equivalent in calories is one hamburger and one giant slip-up.

Vets are warning owners not to overfeed their pets, and cut back on processed foods to save their pets from diseases linked to poor nutrition.

Maraboon Veterinary Surgeon vet Dr Phillipa Rich said nutrition deficiency was pets' biggest health concern.

"Statistically, it's obesity on the rise, same as with people," Dr Rich said.

"With older dogs we are seeing arthritis because if they're overweight as younger dogs, it's harder to lose the weight when they're older because they're less active."

"Pets are being fed table scraps and snacks they don't need.

"It's the foods that are heavily processed that contribute to weight gain."

Most pet food available is over-processed and often has added preservatives, colourings and unnatural sources of protein, Dr Bruce Syme, founder of Vet's All Natural said.

"International research and experience in my clinic has shown me that dogs and cats eating a fresh meat diet, naturally balanced with vegetable matter, like a dingo or cat would eat in the wild, increases the health and lifespan," Dr Syme said.

Dr Rich said the Emerald clinic was offering free dental checks for pets during August.

She said owners should brush their pet's teeth and feed them a nutritious diet of both hard and soft foods.

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