1 Out of 3 Dogs and Cats are Overweight and It’s Having Consequences

It may sound cute to say that you have a fat cat, but the truth is, that a fat cat, or dog, for that matter, is not only not healthy for them, but it is not healthy for you either because of the health risks it poses on your pet and it can eventually cost more in multiple ways.

The BBC reported that over time, owners and their dogs can start to look like each other. It isn’t all in just the facial traits that this can be true, but if you are overweight and so is your pet, then this can certainly be a true observation. It seems that more dogs and cats are having issues with weight problems, and it is beginning to appear that just as there has been an epidemic of obesity growing, the same is true with dogs and cats.

Over the past decade, cats and dogs have been getting heavier, according to the Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2017 State of Pet Health report. But when a closer look was given to the situation, there is a difference in the geographic distribution of overweight humans compared to that of cats and dogs. The report detailed data on over 2.5 million canines and 505,000 felines throughout the veterinarian’s 975 different hospitals that are located in 42 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The information has been being gathered since 2007 and the number of dogs that have been diagnosed with obesity has increased by a staggering 158%. As far as cats, there has been an increase in obese kitties by 169%.

To see a pudgy, or even outright, fat-cat on a social media site, may seem cute or funny, but the truth is, being overweight hurts your pets; cats and dogs alike. Just like with humans, obesity comes with health risks and because no one speaks dog or cat, you can’t know what they are truly feeling having more weight on them, than they should. You wouldn’t hear your cat or dog tell you that climbing stairs is hard, or that they feel bad, or they have lost their self-esteem, or that they think you stink as an owner to let them get like that. All of these thoughts and feelings your cat or dog could experience, are bad enough, but more so than that, your cat or dog has very similar health risks with obesity as a human does. Obesity in your pet can increase their risk of heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis, and more. As a matter-of-fact, the report by Banfield, showed an increase in arthritis in overweight dogs by 82% and a 83% increase in tracheal collapse.

The risks don’t stop there. By owners letting their pets get obese, the cost extends to you, but in a financial burden. When your pet gets overweight and starts to have health problems, it is you who foots the bill for more doctor appointments and treatment costs. Banfield noted that over a four-year time frame, owners of an obese dog spent 17% more for healthcare and 25% more on medications for treatment. These percentages work out to be approximately $2,026 more than the average vet visits for a healthy dog. For cats, owners spent 36% more on diagnostic tests, and a total of about $1,178 overall in a year’s period, than owners of healthy cats.

When you think about it, does this sound familiar to what you would expect with an obese human? Although human costs for healthcare are much more exorbitant. Even though there are similarities in humans and pet obesity, the map of where cats and dogs are more often found to be obese, aren’t the same areas. According to Karin Bruilliard’s report for the Washington Post, Minnesota is the state that had the highest rate of obese dogs, with 41%, and for cats, 46%. Nebraska was the second highest rank state for dog and cat overweight problems, while it is primarily southern states that rank highest for human obesity, with Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana being at the top.

Keeping your pet within its recommended weight class and seeing your veterinarian on a regular basis for check-ups, is one of the best ways you can show your pet how much you love them.

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