A SOLIHULL vet is urging owners to be mindful of their pets’ nutrition needs, as research reveals many animals across the UK have piled on the pounds over lockdown.
Isuru Gajanayake, head of clinical nutrition at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, has spoken out to advise animal lovers on the importance of food and water.
A recent study from the animal charity PDSA revealed pet obesity had increased over the past five years, with more than half of dogs and 44 per cent of cats now overweight.
According to the survey, just a third of owners walk their dogs daily, 45 per cent of dogs get less than 30 minutes’ exercise per day, and 65 per cent of cat owners don’t know what their cats weigh.
Isuru, who has 16 years of experience in clinical nutrition, helped launch the clinical nutrition service at Willows, and believes a year of lockdown living could have led pet owners to take their eyes off the ball when it comes to their pets’ nutrition.
He said: “It’s been an incredibly strange and tough 12 months due to coronavirus. For many, they will have found strength from the bonds they have formed with their pets throughout lockdown and social distancing restrictions.
“However, it’s important that pet owners ensure their animals are still receiving a healthy, balanced diet and getting their required amount of exercise, as there have been reports across the country of more pets becoming overweight in the last 12 months – and with that come associated health risks.”
He also warned of the dangers of malnutrition and dehydration in pets.
A specialist in both internal medicine and clinical nutrition, Isuru is using his expertise to lead the launch of Willows’ parenteral nutrition service, which sees intravenous feeding carried out for animals who may not be able to take on nutrition in other ways.