What if Every Dog Ran: Costs of Having a Fat Dog
I recently wrote about the Mizuno sponsored study entitled “What if Everybody Ran”, which calculated the benefits of what would happen if everyone in the United States ran and was fit. The study is eye opening as it calculated numerical estimates, across the entire U.S. population, of the associated health and financial benefits of having a fit nation.
Taking a page from the Mizuno report, I have done some calculations on my own to demonstrate the key benefits of having a fit dog. Although not as large as the Mizuno study on humans (mostly due to the fact that there are fewer dogs than humans and their life spans and overall healthcare cost are less than humans), these numbers are still extraordinary and are worth reviewing.
If all dogs were fit, through running or other exercises combined with proper portion control and quality food choices:
- The existing dogs in the U.S. would live a combined 87 million extra years due to the fact that fit dogs live longer than overweight dogs. For reference, 87 million years ago the earth was in its Cretaceous era and dinosaurs still ruled the land.
- The cost savings in reduced annual medical costs for the most common obesity related ailments would be near $5 billion annually and over $30 billion over the life of the pets. For reference, a stack of 30 billion, single dollar bills would reach 2,100 miles high, the approximate driving distance from New York, New York to Phoenix, Arizona.
- Pet owners who are overfeeding their pets and spending an extra $130 million more on pet food than they actually need. For reference, a 130 million miles is about the combined distance between Earth and each of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.
- There would be 78,000 less dogs in shelters and 24,000 less euthanized dogs each year (24k saved lives each year!), and the total annual cost savings would be $23 million. For reference, that would be 24 thousand lives saved each year.
- There would be 29 million households with over 76 million people in the U.S. that would be happier and more likely to be fitter and healthier (and with all of the associated benefits as reported in the Mizuno research). For reference, a country with 76 million people would be the 19th largest country in the world.
These are pretty incredible numbers. And they are not by any means all-encompassing but rather simply indications of the costs of some of the more obvious issues related to pet obesity. If you are wondering about how I came up with these figures, I will publish the methodologies and sources behind these calculations in an upcoming post and infographic.
In the meantime, please help spread the word and share this post with other pet lovers. We have lives to spare, lives to extend, and money to save!