1 in 3 Household Pets are Overweight
By Aly Semigran comments by Diane Weinmann
Over the past decade, there’s been a steady climb in the number of obese domestic cats and dogs, according to an eye-opening report released by Banfield Pet Hospital.
The State of Pet Health report breaks down the obesity epidemic with shocking numbers, including a 169 percent rise in overweight cats and a 158 percent rise in overweight dogs since 2007.
The report found that 1 in every 3 household pets is overweight, stemming from both overfeeding and a lack of exercise.
“Obesity is so common that many people underestimate their pet’s body condition, preventing them from taking action to manage their pet’s weight,” the report stated. (The Banfield report was conducted by its BARK Research Team, which analyzed data on over 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats from Banfield’s 975 veterinary hospitals.)
Though some pet breeds are more prone to obesity, Banfield breaks down how to determine if your pet is at risk (by calculating their body condition score), and also offers diet and exercise tips. Maintaining your pet’s weight is important, considering excess pounds can lead to conditions like arthritis and diabetes.
The report also points out that pet parents take a hit financially when their pet is obese, estimating that overweight dogs can cost their owners over $2,000 more a year in medical costs.
While these guidelines can help educate pet parents on how to prevent their cat or dog from becoming a statistic, it’s always wise to consult with your veterinarian first to determine the best plan for your pet.
Being certified in canine nutrition, most pets can benefit from veggies and fruits in their food bowl. My husky is tricky – he will only eat his bigger veggies with dip (guess where he learned that from? … my son!) so we chop the broccoli, carrots and cauliflower until it’s almost ground up then mix it with his regular food. We also do that with melon and berries, although once in a while, he will eat a whole blue berry. Be sneaky and your pet will benefit!