American Pet Obesity Is on the Rise

Pet insurance plans for dogs

It is no secret that the United States has an obesity problem. Now it seems that in addition to causing issues for humans, it is a problem for American pets. This is not related to the health of dog breeds but can be seen in both cats and dogs.

According to a new piece of reporting in Space Coast Daily, there are about 80 million cats and dogs across the United States who are at risk for becoming obese. In 2012, it was estimated that there were about 43.2 million obese cats. This was according to the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey. The study, which was completed by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) also found that 52.5% of all pet dogs and 58.3% of all pet cats were either overweight or obese. APOP looked at data collected by 121 veterinary clinics, across 36 different states. They looked at about 1,485 pet dogs and 450 pet cats. These pets can suffer from many of the same health problems that plaque overweight humans. These pet health problems include joint problems, diabetes, some forms of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. The health of dog breeds and cat breeds can be really impacted by being overweight or obese.

Veterinarian Dr. Emilie Ward, the founder of APOP, says that obesity is the number one health problem facing American pets. She said, “We continue to see an escalation in the number of overweight cats and an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.”

Dr. Mark Peterson, a member of the APOP board and a veterinary endocrinologist, agrees, “There is a vast population of overweight cats and dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes.” Both veterinarians say the best way to protect your animals health is to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight. They note that it is far easier to prevent diabetes than to treat the condition.

The problem seems to be a result of people not recognizing when their pets are overweight or obese. Dr. Ward calls the phenomenon of misjudging an overweight or obese pet as being a normal weight, “the fat gap.” As many as 45% of all pet owners with overweight pets think their pets are the right weight.

“The disconnect between reality and what a pet parent thinks is obese makes having a conversation with their veterinarian more challenging. Many pet owners are shocked when their veterinarian informs them their pet needs to lose weight. They just donandrsquo;t see it,” says Dr. Joe Bartges, an internal medicine and veterinary nutrition specialist at the University of Tennesseeandrsquo;s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The health of dog breeds and cat breeds can differ based on some genetic conditions that impact the weight of the pet. A pet with Crushing’s disease or hyperthyroidism can have weight gain as a result. It is therefore important to work with your vet to discover the cause of the pet’s weight problem and develop a strategy to deal with ti and get your pet to a healthy weight.

Some breeds are more likely to gain weight than others. When you look at the health of dig breeds, for example, veterinarians around the country say that 62.7% of all golden retrievers and 58.9% of Labradors are either overweight or obese. These are dog breeds that need a lot of exercise outside. When they are kept indoors and fed too much of the wrong kinds of foods, the combination can be very bad for their health and well being.

“Pet obesity is setting up more and more dogs and cats for joint problems during their lives. This results in hundreds of millions of dollars in medical bills and countless surgical procedures for weight-related conditions. I find this extremely frustrating; this disease is easily treatable and even simpler to prevent. Feed your pet less, exercise them more and see your veterinarian at least once a year,” says Dr. Steve Budsberg of the University of Georgia.

Most pet owners view their pets as family members. In keeping with that, when you look at the health of dog breeds and for cat breeds, it is crucial to keep our pets’ weight at the right level to keep them healthy and happy.