Swaffham ‘home to some of Britain’s fattest dogs’, new research claims

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Losing weight is a common New Year’s resolution, but have you considered making it for your pet?

Research released today suggests dog owners in Swaffham should do just that, after the town was named in a list of places where Britain’s podgiest pooches can be found.

Figures published by Pets at Home say dogs in Swaffham are, on average, 41 per cent heavier than they should be.

That places the town equal ninth on the heavyweight list, which is headed by Swinton in Yorkshire.

Local vets say they are aware of the problem and are helping owners to fight the flab.

Helen Manning, practice manager at the Swaffham Veterinary Centre, said obesity among pets was a large part of their workload.

The surgery offers clinics specifically designed to help animals shed the pounds, which they believe are often caused by owners over-feeding and treating their pets.

She said: “We’ve been here three years and I’ve seen more obese pets here than at any other practice I’ve worked at.

“We’re trying to beat it at this end when they’re young by checking their weight when they come in to be neutered.”

Pets at Home says it analysed the weights of more than half a million dogs for its survey, which concluded that the nation’s canine friends were an average of 22 per cent overweight.

Dr Maeve Moorcroft, the company’s veterinary advisor, said: “One of the things many pet owners struggle with is not spoiling their beloved dog with too many treats and snacks, for example chocolate, which can be harmful to their health.

“However, just as in humans, eating too many treats and carrying extra pounds can have consequences for canines, including damage to joints, bones and ligaments, problems with breathing and digestion and even quality and length of life in extreme cases.

“That’s why it’s important for pet owners to feed a balanced, nutritious diet to their dog.”