As pet owners, most of us think of our cats and dogs as family. So, just as the health of any family member is important, pet health is also a priority for pet parents. However, when food and treat waste goes unchecked, it fuels weight gain more than the reward itself. The incidence of obesity in pets is on the rise, leading to an increase in obesity-related health problems.
Here are some obesity facts about pets that you must know:
1] Obesity is a concern
A report by Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity in 2018 reveals that 59.5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs were overweight or obese. (https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/u-s-pet-obesity-rates-are-unchanged-conflicting-weight-loss-advice-grows/) These levels continue an upward trend from previous surveys and are currently at their highest levels ever. Your pet’s ribs lightly or watch their waistline, it’s time to take your pet to a vet visit. There are many healthy weight calculators out there that will help you with assisting you with putting the condition of your pet in a perspective.
2] Obesity = Health Issues
Carrying excess body fat and weight can cause a variety of problems throughout the body. The extra weight puts unnecessary stress on the joints and can make arthritis or mobility problems worse. Obesity in pets, as well as humans, has been linked to diabetes, shortness of breath, heart disease, pancreatitis, and cancer. Perhaps one of the most notable problems is that obese pets have a shorter life expectancy than pets that maintain healthy body weights.
3] Factors for Obesity
Here’s a list of common reasons why pets become obese?
Access to too much food.
Poor quality food.
Too many treats.
Inadequate physical activity.
For a medium-sized dog, a biscuit can do that the equivalent of eating a whole hamburger!
A premium pig ear for a 40-pound dog is the equivalent of six 12-ounce tails for an adult human.
A typical dog cookie for a 20-pound dog is the equivalent of two filled sandwich cookies for the average person.
4] Financial Costs
If pet obesity is not treated, this significant medical issue can take a long time and a lot of money to treat.
For example, diabetes in dogs and cats requires lifelong management. Between the cost of insulin, syringes, physical exams, and monitoring blood tests, it costs over $ 1,000 a year to operate. If left untreated, costs skyrocket in diabetic ketoacidosis.
Arthritis and mobility issues frequently need the use of prescription pain meds and lab tests to maintain an animal healthy, which can cost a lot of money each year. The onset of pancreatitis can require hospitalization which costs thousands of dollars. At first glance, obesity doesn’t seem like a costly disease, but the hidden costs can add up dramatically.
In conclusion, obesity is a deadly problem for pets. Visit your vet regularly to ensure your pet is healthy and safe.