Between the food and the vet, maybe your furball needs a new year's resolution too.

If you’re making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, don’t forget about your pet. He may need an exercise regimen of his own. It could save money, not to mention his life.

Pet obesity is gaining for the seventh year in a row, says a study by insurance company Nationwide. They’re getting fatter and it’s costing you twice over — first for the pet food and then for the vet bills, which totaled over $62 million for obesity-related diseases and conditions in 2016.

“Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” says Nationwide VP and medical officer Carol McConnell. “Pet owners need to be aware of the quality and amount of food or treats they give their furry family members.”

Nationwide discovered a fifth (20 percent) of all pet insurance claims were for conditions and diseases tied to obesity. That’s 280,000 of 1. 4 million claims — a 24 percent growth over the last four years.

What costs (and hurts) most

Your pooch’s excess body fat can cause preventable health issues. If unchecked, that could lead to extra vet trips and even shorten your pet’s life expectancy.

Arthritis affects obese dogs the most, with over 51,000 claims in 2016. That adds an extra $310 treatment fee on average.

Bladder or urinary tract disease also ranks second for obese dogs, followed by liver disease. Low thyroid hormone, torn knee ligaments and diabetes also top the list.

Meanwhile, bladder or urinary tract disease is the number one claim for obese cats, with 5,000 total claims. You’re looking at a $443 average claim per fat cat.

Cats usually have chronic kidney disease and diabetes tied to their obesity. They’re at risk for asthma, liver disease, arthritis and more.

Lose pounds, lose vet bills

If you’re one of hundreds of thousands of people with an obese pet, don’t lose hope. With the right regimen, your pet can squeeze back into their old swimsuit.

“The New Year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and begin to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid excess weight gain,” says McConnell. “Scheduling routine wellness exams with your veterinarian is an effective way to get started on monitoring your pet’s weight, particularly for cats.”

Here are some simple resolutions to get your pet’s weight on track this year…

  • Don’t offer pets any table scraps.
  • Make your pet’s diet consistent by giving them the same amount of food at the same time every day.
  • Limit the number of treats you give.
  • Establish an exercise/play time schedule for your pets to keep them happy and healthy.
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Brittany Ferrendi

Brittany Ferrendi


Ferrendi is a freelance writer and the webmaster for South Florida Gay News.

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Article last modified on July 6, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Our Pets Are Getting Fatter, And It’s Costing Us Millions - AMP.