Australians are enjoying more time with their pets. It’s great for us, and it’s great for them. But it is causing some problems.
Australians are enjoying more time with their pets.
It’s great for us, and it’s great for them. But there can be a downside with stomach issues for dogs increasing dramatically over the last year.
According to research from Pet Insurance Australia, claims for gastrointestinal issues, aka upset tummies, jumped by more than 112 per cent from June 2019 to June 2020, with that trend continuing through to the end of last year.
Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia puts the blame squarely on one source – overindulgence.
“I think we can all agree that Covid has not been very nice for our waistlines, sadly this is also the case for many of our pets,” Crighton said.
“Overindulgence in human-type foods during lockdowns and extended home-time could be the cause of many upset stomachs for our pets.”
Crystal Bulmer, a senior veterinary nurse at Petersham Vet Hospital said owners need to stop marrying up their own food tastes with those of their pets.
“We’re all spending more time with our pets than we ever have. That’s terrific except that in a lot of cases that extra time has turned into extra treats,” she said.
“It seems like a lot of us forgot that our pets don’t fare well with high-fat, overly rich foods designed for humans and the reason why they don’t is they’re animals – not people … their systems aren’t designed to handle the kinds of food we eat.
In the past 12 months we’ve seen an increase in pets attending the clinic with everything from mild to significant gastro-related illnesses and the vast majority of those are unwell because they’ve tucked into too many inappropriate treats and left-overs from owners who are at home thanks to Covid.
The rest have likely scarfed up something dodgy in the local park which is hosting larger numbers of people and animals, again because of Covid.
Bottom line – pets should be eating pet food. And that’s because they are pets … not people.”
Ms Crighton said owners don’t have to limit their pet’s diet to kibble, they can be a lot more creative than that.
“There are many great recipes online that you can utilise if you want to treat your pet with some home-baking,” she says. “But it is recommended that feeding your beloved pet left-overs that are high in fats or oils is restricted, it’s also a good idea to remind children of this when treating your four-legged best friend.”
Obesity is another major issue, owners need to remember.
“If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, seek help,” Crighton said.
“An overweight pet is a sick pet, getting the right advice from your vet and popping your cat or dog on a specialty diet to help, will allow your companion animal to live a long and healthy life.”
The highest amount claimed for a gastrointestinal diagnosis was in June 2020. Coming in at just over $12,000 worth of veterinary care.
DOG BREEDS MOST AFFECTED BY STOMACH ISSUES*
1. Italian Lagotto Romagnolo
2. French Bulldog
3. Miniature Schnauzer
4. Boston Terrier
5. West Highland Terrier
6. Welsh Corgi
7. Tibetan Spaniel
9. Shetland Sheepdog
*According to Pet Insurance Australia.