One in three dogs and cats that visited a Banfield hospital in 2016 was overweight or obese, according to Banfield Pet Hospital's State of Pet Health Report. In the past 10 years, Banfield saw a 169 percent increase in overweight cats and a 158 percent increase in overweight dogs.
The 2017 State of Pet Health Report, released June 27, draws on medical data from the more than 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats that Banfield cared for in 2016. The report covers common and chronic conditions and infectious diseases. This edition of the annual report put a spotlight on pet obesity.
Banfield found that certain co-morbidities of excess weight also have increased in the past 10 years. In dogs, arthritis increased 82 percent, and tracheal collapse increased 83 percent.
Owners of overweight dogs spent 17 percent more on health care and 25 percent more on medications, compared with owners of healthy-weight dogs. Owners of overweight cats spent 36 percent more on diagnostic procedures, compared with owners of healthy-weight cats.
Overweight pets are especially prevalent in Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan, Idaho, and Nevada. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, the highest percentages of obese people were in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
An infographic for pet owners provides an overview of pet obesity, including how to tell if a pet is overweight. Banfield uses a 5-point body condition score, with 4 being overweight and 5 being obese.
The infographic advises that pet owners do the following:
- Prevention is key: Regular check-ups and nutritional counseling with a veterinarian can help owners keep pets at a healthy weight.
- Owners of overweight pets should partner with their veterinarian to determine the most appropriate weight-loss plan.
- Offer rewards other than food, such as belly rubs or toys.
- Make sure your pet gets the appropriate amount of exercise.
- If food is given as a reward, provide low-calorie snacks such as baby carrots for dogs, and reduce the amount of food offered during mealtime to accommodate treats given during the day.
Related JAVMA content:
Conference charts one-health approach to addressing obesity in pets, people (Aug. 1, 2017)
Study: Over half of pet dogs and cats were overweight in 2015 (June 15, 2016)
AAHA develops guidelines for weight management (Feb. 15, 2014
The fat factor (Aug. 1, 2013)