TV vet and pet nutrition expert Dr Joe Inglis has issued a stark warning about the rising popularity of overweight dogs being celebrated on TikTok.
The expert has warned overweight dogs are far more likely to get cancer, as well as diabetes and osteoarthritis.
Hashtags such as 'chonky' dog have become a trending search term by users as overweight dogs have been viewed more than 90million times on the social media site.
VetChef found Joe also discovered that across Facebook, Instagram and Reddit alone, there are one million members or followers of groups devoted to overweight dogs.
According to research by the fresh pet food platform, breeds which feature most in these groups are some of the UK’s most popular including pitbulls, frenchies, pugs, terriers and beagles.
On TikTok, videos are shared using hashtags including: #chonkydogs, #fatdog, and #chubbypuppy.
The term “chonky” has started be used by many social media users to show their approval of overweight dogs.
It first came to light back in 2016 in a Twitter group called ‘Chonky Animals ’.
Dr Joe said he worries the trend is "glorifying" overweight pets.
He said: “While it is always a delight to see the joy pets bring, it is worrying that the trend of normalising and glorifying pets that are actually clinically overweight is on the rise.
“The unfortunate reality is that overweight pets are likely to have a lower quality of life, as they are more likely to develop serious health conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer.
“The breeds that seem to be most commonly featured across social media also already have a number of hereditary health problems, which are likely to only be exacerbated by being overweight."
Joe said obesity is one of the leading, ongoing health issues we face with our pets in the UK, with 50% of pets now being classed as overweight.
The Biggest Fat Pet TikTok Hashtags
He continued: "We can all be guilty of ‘fat blindness’ when it comes to our pets, especially over the past year when a lot of us have spent more time at home with our canine companions.
“But our pets rely solely on us as their owners to keep them as fit, healthy and happy as possible, so it is our responsibility to ensure they are getting the right amount of daily exercise, fed a fresh diet that caters to their individual needs and to recognise when they are actually at an unhealthy weight."
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