Pet lovers have been warned of the spiralling problem of obesity among cats, dogs and rabbits as a number of owners fail to ensure their furry friends get the right foods.

Research from the PDSA has suggested as many as 18 million pets are at risk of an early grave as they are fed unhealthy diets including takeaways, crisps and cakes.

Combined with a lack of exercise and an overweight problem that prevents animals from getting active, the UK could be on standby for a pet obesity time bomb.

The Animal Wellbeing Report from the PDSA revealed 13.5 million animals are regularly chowing down on fatty and sugary treats, which put them at risk of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

Frozen pet food can be a great way for owners to ensure their moggies and pooches get the nutrition they need, without overfeeding their animals and compromising their health.

Senior Veterinary Surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: "Vet practices across the UK see the consequences of pet obesity every single day such as obese dogs unable to enjoy regular walks due to exhaustion, fat cats that can't jump or play, and rabbits so hopelessly overweight they can't clean themselves properly."

The organisation also revealed most people are aware of the health risks of overfeeding pets and giving them high calorie treats.

A survey found 91 per cent of respondents understood that pets will suffer a shortened lifespan if they are overweight, with 93 percent also aware they can face the same obesity-related conditions as humans.

"Diet is one of the most misunderstood welfare needs for pets," Ms Pendlebury said. "But's it's never too late to make a positive change."

The poll of pet owners also revealed 61 per cent agree severely overweight animals should be taken from owners that repeatedly ignore veterinary advice.

A further 51 per cent said they think overweight owners are more likely to have overweight pets and 48 per cent admit to treating their furry friend because they believe it makes their animal happy.

Written by: Hannah