There seems to be plenty of media coverage about human obesity and weight problems, but what effect does excess body fat have our pets? Not surprisingly many of the same health issues as humans. These include heart disease and circulatory problems, the increased risk of diabetes, joint disease and a poor respiratory system. Signs of these problems in an overweight animal could include not wanting to walk very far, pain on movement, breathlessness and coughing. Many pet owners are aware of these common problems, however, there are far more health issues associated with having an overweight animal: There can be poorer immune response, difficulty in giving birth, incontinence, heat intolerance and fatty changes can cause liver problems for cats. If an overweight pet needs an operation, there is an increased risk of surgical complications, as there is in humans. An increased anaesthetic risk, slow wound healing and a greater risk of wound infection are some of the extra problems the veterinary team might face. Because of these issues and the high number of overweight pets in the UK, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PMFA) launched the ‘Friends for Life’ campaign in May 2013, with a fresh promotion in August. Working with leading experts in the field of pet food the constant focus is on helping the U.K.'s pet owners (and potential pet owners) improve the health and well-being of their animals. The campaign encourages owners of dogs, cats, rabbits even birds to contact their vet or pet care specialist each Wednesday throughout August, to get advice on weight management and to keep a check on their pets health. These days are called Weigh In Wednesdays! But the campaign doesn't stop there – it can be ongoing at the vet surgery with regular checks on the pet's progress. By monitoring the pet’s body size and health, research shows they could potentially increase the pet’s life expectancy by up to 2 years. The Weigh In Wednesday campaign starts on 7th August and both pet owners and pet professionals can download all the tools they need from the PFMA website . The pet owner pack consists of a food diary, the pet pledge and a weight and condition log. By working with the vets and pet health specialists, owners can make a real difference to their pets lives. David Kalcher RVNHelp your pet’s health with the Friends for Life campaign and Weigh-in Wednesdays. Pet owners are often not aware of any problems with their pets, but research has shown a shocking statistic that almost half the pets seen in practice by vets are overweight.