Canine Obesity: Dangerous and Expensive

It’s rather sad to think that more than half the dogs in this country are overweight or obese. According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of the dogs in the U.S. are eating the wrong foods and not getting enough exercise. Sound familiar? Dogs and people are in the same boat!

Most pet parents enjoy “sharing the love” by feeding their dogs too much. I often hear about how cute it is to have a little extra weight on their four legged friend – a sign of a well-loved dog. But even a moderately overweight animal has a two year reduction in life expectancy. Fat is not something that just hangs around, it is actually a biologically active tissue that produces inflammatory hormones and oxidative stress. What that means is that the body is over producing free radicals and maintaining a chronic level of inflammation. These factors are major contributors to poor health, including deadly diseases like cancer and arthritis, as well as immune system damage.

Obesity impacts your dog’s health and the health of your pocketbook. Here are some obesity related costs courtesy of Pet Plan, a health insurance company for animals.

1. Simple overeating can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Pet Plan sees 900 claims a month for digestive issues with an average cost of $850.

2. Cancer. This is an ever-growing problem. Obesity can make your dog susceptible to certain cancers with an average cost of over $2,000.

3. Joints. Knee and ligament surgery – $3,400. This does not include conditions like arthritis.

4. Urinary tract infections.  Yes, being overweight can contribute to your dog’s poor urinary health too. Average cost $590.

5. Heart disease – $1,230.

6. Back issues, especially in German shepherds, dachshunds, and basset hounds – $2,033.

This list does not include obesity related diabetes, pancreatitis, and respiratory issues.

The good news is, all of this is preventable! Follow our next blog, where we learn about recognizing and preventing obesity as well as getting your dog, and maybe yourself, into the best shape ever.

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