Consumers should give their pet low calorie pet food during the winter to ensure they do not gain weight, according to a vet.
Raelynn Farnsworth, clinical assistant professor and Washington State University community practice veterinarian, expressed her belief that many pet owners can fall into the trap of over-feeding their animals during the cold season to build up their energy and fat stores.
She told WSU today: "If pets remain outdoors during the winter, they do need more calories when it is cold, but often people feed them a lot more food when they really only need a little.
"Pets that are exclusively indoors or tend to gain weight during the winter can be fed a lighter calorie pet food during this time."
Recent research has underlined the growing problem of pet obesity, with studies showing that 25 per cent of dogs and 40 per cent of cats in the US are overweight.