Pet Obesity on the Rise

Do you consistently give your precious pooch table scraps? How about giving your cat a treat just for being a fantastic feline? If so, you might be contributing to America’s staggering pet obesity statistics. According to a survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of dogs and 55 percent of cats in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. Additionally, VPI has seen the number of pet obesity-related claims steadily increase over the last three years.

While a pudgy pet might look cute, obesity can lead to health problems down the road, including arthritis, diabetes and liver disease. Just like their human counterparts, excessive weight increases the risk of additional health problems and shortens the life expectancy of pets.

In 2012, VPI policyholders filed more than $34 million in claims for conditions and diseases that can be caused or exacerbated by excess weight. The company recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions in 2012.  Below are the results:

In 2012, VPI received more than 34,000 canine claims for arthritis, the most common joint disease aggravated by excessive weight. The average claim fee was $300 per pet. For cats, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common condition that can be aggravated by obesity. VPI received more than 4,200 medical claims for this ailment – with an average claim amount of $415 per pet.

In addition to taking pets to the veterinarian for regular wellness visits, below are simple tests you can perform to determine if your pet needs to lose weight:

  • You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs without pressing.
  • You should see a noticeable “waist” on your pet, between the back of the ribs and the hips, when viewing your pet from above. When looking from the side, your pet’s belly should go up from the bottom of the ribcage to inside the thighs.

Click here to view VPI’s The Skinny on Pet Obesity Infographic. For more information about the dangers of pet obesity and tips for preventing your pet from packing on extra pounds, visit the VPI Pet HealthZone.


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