No pounds for pooches
It may not be a sentiment you hear very often, but as this year’s National Obesity Awareness Week (12-18 January) gets underway in the UK, Aquarium Software are asking us to spare a thought for fat cats everywhere and prevent pooches and pets from piling on the pounds.
Doing so will prolong the life of your pet and the pound in your pocket as healthy pets inevitably reduce insurance premiums, with software now able to identify the fit from the fat and tailor polices accordingly.
A study carried out by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) last year involving 200 pets and 1,000 owners revealed that almost half of cats and dogs are now considered obese by vets. Obesity is responsible for early deaths in our furry friends as much as the human population and the cost of treating pets with obesity related conditions is estimated at some £215 million a year.
“Pet insurance premiums are on the rise and while software and technology can certainly help keep costs down, so-called ‘pet parents’ need to realise it is their responsibility too to keep pets healthy,” said Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director. “Taking pounds off your pet literally can put them in your pocket by cutting insurance premiums. Innovative software means vets and insurers can now keep a track of such issues and those who can show a history of a healthy approach to their pets may be able to see an insurance discount – in much the same way careful drivers do now.”
Obesity in animals is linked to many of the same conditions affecting their overweight owners, including diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancers. While many of these diseases can be treated, the cost of this can lead to spiralling insurance premiums. Indeed, certain pet insurers already include clauses stating that pets not in a ‘normal healthy state’ at the time of cover, cannot later claim for related illness.
Tips for dieting dogs are much the same as for their human counterparts – to eat less and take more exercise. Far too many are killing their pets with kindness by providing them with unhealthy treats or feeding them many of our own high calorific leftovers.
Some have turned to technology to help, with pet activity trackers now available, but as Colonnese points out, while computers can help, common sense remains the key to the solution.
“At Aquarium we are the first to advocate technology as one of the best tools both insurers and policy holders have as a means not just to keep premiums competitive and pets to stay healthy, but this needs to go hand in hand with common sense and owners taking responsibility,” added Colonnese. “Activity trackers ae fine and could be employed to monitor pets like we now monitor careful drivers, but if you don’t do the activity, or take the steps to improve your performance, the result remains the same.”
Aquarium software is playing a key role in helping insurers improve their pet policies in the UK and over the pond in the US. The pet insurance industry is enjoying a period of growth on both sides of the Atlantic and and while Aquarium products are helping insurers to deliver competitive premiums, the onus is also on owners to take the necessary steps to keep their pets healthy.
Last year the PFMA used social media to promote its #GetPetsFit campaign and pet health starter kits are available to download from a variety of sources online, so there is no excuse for not making it a fit 2015 for Felix and Fluffy.