Rover, we have a problem…pet obesity
Whether we care to admit it or not, there is a good chance that we own or know people who own an overweight or obese dog. At SlimDoggy, one of our goals is to raise awareness about this issue while providing tools and information to people who would like to address their dogs weight problem. Today we start a series on the dog obesity/weight problem by providing some facts and figures on the canine weight problem we have in the U.S., and provide a look at the cost to dog owners who have overweight pets.
Rover We Have a Problem
I am sure that many of you have heard the statistics on the dog weight/obesity problem we have in the U.S.. Still, I believe it is worth sharing some of the key numbers.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s latest survey:
- 41.1 million dogs, or a whopping 53 % of all adult dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese
- 24.4 million (31.2%) are overweight
- 16.7 million (21.4%) are obese
- 22 percent of dog owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese. We call this the “I am in denial” stat.
- the number of obese pets, defined as those at least 30 percent above normal weight or a body condition score (BCS) of 5, continues to grow despite 93.4 percent of surveyed pet owners identifying pet obesity as a problem. We call this the “I don’t know how to solve the problem” stat.
Just like it is with people, being overweight leads to many serious health problems for dogs including:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- breathing problems
- kidney disease
- behavioral problems due to lack of exercise
The cost of this problem is staggering! As we all know, pet health care can be costly:
- Orthopedic surgeries can cost over $500 + per procedure
- Vet visits for illness and diagnostics can cost $50-$250 per visit
- Medications to control pain, blood pressure, insulin levels, etc. can cost $10-$25 per month
In total, we estimate that the aggregate cost to dog owners to medically care for (e.g. vet visits, meds, surgeries, etc.) their overweight dogs can run as much as $6-8 billion dollars per year. Wow! For context, a stack of 1 billion $1 dollar bills would measure measures 358,510 feet or 67.9 miles. In our case, 8 billion would represent be a ~ 540 mile long stack of bills to cover the annual additional healthcare costs associated with our overweight dogs.
In our next post, we will discuss how to determine if your dog needs to lose weight and some reasons why this happened in the first place, and also provide some tips on how to get started on a weight management program for your dog.