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Press Office

11th November 2010

Is your pet looking a bit porky?

Petplan aids Morrisons launch of pet food portion control to help combat pet obesity

From this month, Morrisons will be launching pet food packaging which will alert shoppers to the ideal portion size their canine and feline friends should be eating. This comes in light of worrying figures from Petplan, the UK’s largest pet insurer that 36 per cent of all dogs treated by vets are obese alongside 29 per cent of all cats. As consumers get to grips with labelling and counting calories on their own food their attention is now turning to their pets.

Morrisons is the first supermarket to add portion control guidance to the front of their pet food packaging. On top of this, the health of our pets is a growing issue with 71 per cent of vets agreeing that cases of obesity are continuing to rise. Each packet will provide the correct portion for a healthy weight pet and the packaging will be far simpler by clearly communicating on the front of the packet the amount of servings each product provides. Research suggests that medical treatment due to obesity, quite often leading to diabetes, can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

70 per cent of owners believe that their dog or cat has never been overweight which shows that there is a level of confusion amongst owners as to how much their pet is eating. A further 83 per cent do not even worry about giving their pet too much food. Morrisons is aiming to make it easier for pet lovers to ensure their animal doesn’t put on any unnecessary weight especially with Christmas just around the corner and the temptation of being fed leftovers and treats.

According to vets asked by Petplan there are five main reasons for an obesity problem amongst household pets and the point the finger directly at the owner. These are:

  • Too much food
  • Lack of exercise
  • Not knowing the healthy weight or shape of their pet
  • Snacking
  • Wrong type of food

John Cannan, New Product Development Manager for Pet Food at Morrisons commented: “We’ve had feedback from our customers which says that they are often in the dark about how much food they should be buying and giving their pet. Our new packaging will ensure that shoppers have a clearer sense of portion sizes whilst also saving them some pennies”

He continued: “As well as addressing portion control as our pet’s palates are becoming more refined much like our own we have created a number of new flavour combinations to keep your family pet guessing – almost good enough to eat yourself”

Brian Faulkner Petplan Vet of the Year commented: “It’s great to see Morrisons taking the lead on this and helping shoppers make more informed decisions about what they are feeding their pet. Whilst it’s normal to give your animal a treat every now and then, pets do need to follow healthy regimes just like we do. Keeping your pet fit and healthy will ultimately save you money on veterinary bills as well”

Petplan has a history of promoting healthy lifestyles for pets and advocating prevention of illness rather than simply trying to fix the problem with pills. It’s important that a pet eats well and exercises regularly exactly the same as their owners.

In addition to the new packaging guidelines, Morrisons is also re-launching its own label cat food with some more adventurous flavours as our pampered pets now wanting gourmet food, creating a variety of pet food flavours using jelly including beef in tomato and tuna in carrot.

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

For more information about Petplan cat insurance, please visit:
www.petplan.co.uk/factsheets/why-take-out-cat-insurance.asp

For more information about Petplan dog insurance, please visit:
www.petplan.co.uk/factsheets/why-take-out-dog-insurance.asp