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What in the world is…pet obesity?

What in the world is…pet obesity?

Published on July 06, 2017

There are few things in life that are as rewarding as coming home after a long day of work and being greeted by your kids, your spouse, or…your dog. Let’s face it, the term “man’s best friend” has a lot of truth behind it—we love our pets. So much so, in fact, that sometimes we forget that they can have the same health concerns as us.

One of those concerns also happens to be one of America’s top epidemics: Obesity.

According to a recent study by Banfield Pet Hospital in Washington, one out of three dogs and cats are overweight, and those numbers are skyrocketing. While we may think our pets look cute with a little pudge, being overweight can have serious consequences. Overweight cats can suffer from diabetes, orthopedic diseases like arthritis and respiratory diseases such as feline asthma. Similarly, overweight dogs can suffer from arthritis, urinary incontinence and respiratory diseases like tracheal collapse.

And pet obesity isn’t just bad for your pet, it’s bad for your bank. According to Banfield’s data, owners of overweight dogs spend 17 percent more in healthcare costs versus healthy dogs, and cat owners spend 36 percent more in diagnostic procedures versus healthy weight cats. Their survey included 2.5 million dogs and over 500,000 cats across the U.S.

The best way to keep your pet happy and healthy is to feed them a balanced diet and make sure they get exercise. While your vet can help you determine specific nutritional needs for your pets, perhaps the most important step in this process is to learn the warning signs. According to Banfield’s research, obesity is the “new normal” and we may not even notice that our pets are suffering from this condition.

How do you know if your pet is overweight? Banfield’s website has a tool you can use to determine your dog or cat’s body condition score.

So while you may love showing your affection by giving your pet treats—remember to keep it in moderation and find new ways to reward them: going for walks, playing fetch or tossing around cat toys are great ways to bond with your pets—and a great way to get in your steps, too!

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