Does your pet need to make a New Year's Resolution?

January is the traditional time when after the excesses of Christmas we think about our weight! Research by the World Health Organisation reveals that in the UK a staggering 40% of the population are clinically obese, meaning they are 15-20% overweight.

But its not just humans that have weight problems, says Dr Eric Jackson B.V.M & S., Ph.D., MRCVS, veterinary advisor for Pinnacle Pet Healthcare Limited. It is estimated that 1 in 4 domestic pets are also clinically obese. Pet owners often blame neutering but more often than not the real reason is over-feeding and lack of exercise just like us.

Many veterinary practices offer weight clinics for pets. The practice can offer advice on the ideal weight for your pet and the most appropriate exercise routine to assist with weight management.

There are also clinical reasons for obesity such as under-activity of the thyroid gland - but if you are concerned that your pet is overweight you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. Like us, overweight animals are at a much greater risk of suffering from a wide range of problems such as arthritis, heart disease, liver disease, skin disease, diabetes and respiratory problems. Obese pets are also at an increased risk should they require surgery and can take longer to recover from anaesthetics.

One owner who was determined to keep her pets in good health was Karen Whyatt. Karen regularly runs with her husky dogs, Eleska and Monty and even New Years Eve, 2002, was no exception!

While out running, Karen slipped and fell and the threesome came to an abrupt stop. Unfortunately, Eleska must have landed awkwardly - she began crying. A trip to the vet revealed that Eleska had broken her leg ... in three places! She had also damaged a vein in the process.

An operation to pin the broken bones followed along with a vet's bill of £1670.25 - a hefty sum to find after the festive period. Fortunately, Eleska's veterinary bill was fully reimbursed by her pet insurance policy with Pinnacle Pet Healthcare.

Karen Whyatt said,

"It was such a relief that we had thought to take out insurance for Eleska. We were able to concentrate on her making a full recovery rather than worrying about the cost of the treatment."

Pinnacle Pet Healthcare Limited offers comprehensive lifetime insurance for dogs and cats. Cover starts from as little as £4.94 a month for cats and £7.86 for dogs. For further information contact Pinnacle Pet Healthcare on 0845 2000 738 or visit