Story at a glance:
- There has been 108 percent increase in overweight or obese dogs between 2011 and 2020.
- More than 150,000 dogs every year are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, an inflammation in the joints, the common form of arthritis.
- 1 in 10 respondents do not think pets have become more overweight or obese, showing there’s a need for greater awareness of this issue, experts say.
Pets now weigh more than they did 10 years ago, highlighting an “epidemic” of overweight cats and dogs that started happening well before quarantine, experts say in new research from the largest veterinary system in the U.S., Banfield Pet Hospital.
Within a decade of research, Banfield saw a 108 percent increase in overweight or obese dogs between 2011, when dogs were diagnosed with weight problems at 16 percent, and 2020, when the problem got worse over time at 38 percent.
From March 2020 to December 2020, there was a 2.3 percent increase, which would make it the largest increase amongst canines in the past decade.
Banfield said that maintaining animals’ weight is more than just balancing their diets — it also entails ensuring they have an overall healthy and comfortable life.
Dogs and cats that are overweight or obese are four times and seven times more likely going to have trouble cleaning themselves, which could cause dermatologic issues such as skin infections.
Big dogs are four times more likely and big cats are five times more likely to develop diabetes or hypothyroidism.
Overweight dogs are three times more likely to be diagnosed with orthopedic problems or mobility-related issues. More than 150,000 dogs every year are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, an inflammation in the joints, the common form of arthritis, according to the Banfield’s 2021 Veterinary Emerging Topics Report.
The result of having an overweight dog or cat is that the animal is two to four times more likely to have respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, respectively, and cats in particular are four times more likely to be diagnosed with urinary conditions such as urinary stones.
Although most people of the 1,000 people surveyed by Banfield correctly noticed that pets are bigger than previous generations, 1 in 10 respondents do not agree. This gives experts reason to believe that there should be more awareness around the issue of obesity in pets.
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