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25th Apr 2019

Half of UK Pet Parents Admit to Ignoring Pet Health Red Flags

Alarming number of pet parents admit to being unaware of red flags

by Burns Team Writer

Dog owners warned to avoid pet food with a high fat and protein content to prevent ongoing health issues – while half of dog owners ignore feeding guidelines as they don’t recognise health red flag related to diet.

A new pet health report released today has highlighted a worrying insight into the minds of UK pet owners with findings showing that over a third of dog owners are ignoring significant red flags in their pet’s health, and that overfeeding could be a major issue.

One in ten dog owners admit to feeding their dogs more than the recommended feeding guidelines and a total of 47% respondents confessed to ignoring guidelines completely. This is despite the fact that overfeeding is responsible for a number of significant health issues.


Thirty seven percent of dog owners were unaware that common traits, such as bad breath and tear staining, could actually be indicative of underlying health issues, with 58% thinking that moulting all year round is normal for dogs, and 53% attributing this to seasonal changes. A further quarter of all respondents thought that central heating systems were to blame for continual shedding.

But vet and pet food founder, John Burns, says that many common health problems are due to the accumulation of toxic waste in the body which is usually a tell-tale sign of an suitable diet and overfeeding. Common problems such as skin disorders, persistent moulting, itchy skin, discharge from the eyes, waxy ears and recurring digestive upset are signs of high levels of toxic matter yet pet owners are not aware of the link or how correct diet can help.

Two thousand dog owners were surveyed by Burns Pet Nutrition to highlight the impact a poor diet can have on a dog’s overall wellbeing. The natural pet food company released the findings to mark Pet Health Month which is celebrated in April and to draw attention to the troublesome symptoms all pet owners should be aware of.

Although many vets claim that obesity is one of the biggest health and welfare issues facing our pets, the survey found that younger owners are more likely to ignore concerns such as weight gain. Over half of 18-24-year-old dog owners wouldn’t be concerned if their dogs gained weight, compared to three quarters of older dog owners that would. Furthermore, 72% of dog owners under the age of 44 say that being able to see their dog’s ribs would be a cause for concern, compared to just 59% of over 55s. This is despite the fact the ribs, hips and the spine should all be able to be easily felt in a dog that’s an ideal weight, and being able to see the last couple of ribs when the dog is moving is also indicative of a perfect weight. This is a concern to experts like John as it highlights that many owners are likely to worry more about seeing their dogs’ ribs than their dog gaining weight even though there are many more health problems associated with dogs being overweight rather than being lean.

Further findings from the report highlight that 85% of dog owners don’t know that itchy skin is a common sign of overfeeding, similarly 89% are unaware that poo eating is also symptomatic of this.