News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


A taste for leftovers leaves New Zealand pets obese

11 October 2016

A taste for leftovers leaves New Zealand pets obese
11% of dogs and 15% of cats are overweight

Feeding your pet leftovers from last night’s dinner may seem like a great idea at the time, but it’s contributing to excess weight that can have dire effects on their health.

Tomorrow is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, and recent Southern Cross Pet Insurance research shows that 11% of dogs and 15% of cats are overweight in New Zealand.

One thing that definitely doesn’t help pets is an unbalanced diet – which includes being fed leftovers or sharing lunch with an owner.

More than seven-in-ten (76%) dog owners, and one-in-four cat owners, feed their pets human food. This includes:

Forms of foodDogsCats
Leftovers from dinner76%57%
A bite of my lunch25%18%
Most things I eat13%6%
Ice cream6%11%

Southern Cross Pet Insurance head Anthony McPhail says we’re all guilty of falling for our pets big imploring eyes, but it’s important that the 52% of New Zealanders who own pets realise the dangers of being over generous around mealtime.

“This is a worry as there are a lot of human foods that cats and dogs aren’t able to eat – things like onions and chocolate for example – are actually poisonous.

“Not only that but a bit of your lunch here and there is the equivalent of an extra meal for an animal and can add up to significant weight gain. This puts a lot of stress on the animal's joints, and can lead to diabetes, heart conditions and generally a shorter life span.”

Despite this, McPhail says it’s encouraging to see pet owners are being proactive when they realise there is an issue. Nearly three quarters (72%) of overweight dogs and nearly half (47%) of overweight cats are on a diet.

“The health risks of obesity for a pet are significant and can be costly – if you think your animal is overweight you need to discuss it with your vet and put a plan in place to fix it.

“There’s no public health system for pets which means that as an owner it’s up to you to pay for any treatment. Toxicity and weight related claims like ligament damage are some of our most common claims and can range between $300 – $1400.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press.

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland