What does your pet really need?

What does your pet really need?
30th January 2015

Recently the PDSA launched their annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report, which highlighted some shocking facts about pet obesity in the UK.

The report, which is the largest ever annual assessment of pet welfare, found that 80% of vets and nurses believe the number of overweight cats and dogs will increase in the next five years.

The leading animal charity puts the rise down to the fact that many pet owners have a ‘grave lack of understanding’ of their pet’s basic needs.

At Encore we think this lack of understanding goes a lot further. A huge number of pet owners just don’t realise that many leading pet food brands contain as little as 4% real meat in their wet food recipes. They’re also unaware of the fact that cats and dogs find the cereals and grains used in many dry foods hard to digest. So why do pet owners continue to feed them these things?

We think the answer lies mainly in pet food labelling. It’s not easy to make an informed decision about what to feed your pet when labels are so confusing.

Dogs and cats need real meat to get the most out of their diet. But many pet food brands simply categorise ingredients into ‘meat’ or ‘animal derivatives’ without ever revealing which bits of an animal they’re actually using. This could mean your pet is eating chicken feathers instead of chicken breast. Imagine that!

Also, if meat isn’t the first ingredient listed on a label it isn’t the main source of protein – this is likely to be cereals or grains instead.

Like the PDSA, Encore is championing healthy pets with our latest campaign on pet food labelling and we’re working with vet Luke Gamble to raise awareness of the issue in the media during February.

See the full 2014 PAW report https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-health-advice/pdsa-animal-wellbeing-report