About 1 in every 3 dogs and cats is overweight or even obese, according to Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2017 State of Pet Health report. During the past 10 years, there’s been a 169 percent increase in overweight cats and a 158 percent increase in overweight dogs nationwide. The report looked at the health of 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats who visited Banfield pet-care facilities around the country last year.
How does this weight problem happen? Lack of exercise, overfeeding, breed and genetics, and more.
And while you may find your lumpy, furry friend too cute for words, you might not find it cute to learn that the extra weight can contribute to a host of diseases.
“More than 20 disease conditions have been linked with pets being overweight,” Dr. Kirk Breuninger, a veterinary research associate at Vancouver, Washington’s Banfield Pet Hospital, told USA Today. “While some may say, ‘My pet looks cute being pudgy or plump,’ ultimately carrying those extra pounds contributes to exasperating these diseases.”
Food isn’t the only thing these pets are taking a bite out of. Owners of overweight dogs and cats will notice a chunk of their wallet missing, too. People who own overweight dogs spend 17 percent more on health care costs, and those who own overweight cats spend 36 percent more on diagnostic procedures.
But don’t fret: You can help your pet get healthier.
“Even small changes can have big long-term effects,” Breuninger told USA Today. “Even just going a few extra blocks can have a big difference and if you think about yourself, if you don’t exercise enough [you] feel sluggish and not at your best.” And pets, he says, likely feel the same way, too.
Considering that more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, that extra effort might be worth it.
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