Food is love; just ask any Italian grandmother. But we're apparently loving our pets way too much.
About one out of three dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight, and those numbers just keeping growing. According to a new report on more than 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats, over the past decade, there's been a 169 percent increase in overweight cats and a 158 percent rise in overweight dogs. All the pets were seen at the more than 900 animal hospitals operated by Banfield across the country.
The study charted the number of cases of obesity and overweight pets per state, and the results are relatively surprising. While Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest prevalence of overweight and obese humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that doesn't match their canine counterparts. Those states have the lowest rates of pudgy dogs in the country.
And just because people are active in a state doesn't mean they necessarily bring their pets along for the ride. Colorado and Washington state are both in the top 15.
States with the highest percentage of overweight dogs:
- New Mexico
States with the highest percentage of overweight cats:
- New Mexico
Need motivation to stop heaping food in your pet's dish? Banfield says obesity in pets has been linked to 20 ailments, including arthritis. Plus, it can have an impact on your wallet.
Owners of overweight dogs spend about 17 percent more on health care costs and 25 percent more on medications, while owners of overweight cats spend 36 percent more on diagnostic procedures compared to owners of cats that are at a healthy weight, according to Banfield.
All in the breed
Some pet breeds are more prone to packing on the extra pounds. According to Banfield, Labrador retrievers, Cairn terriers and cocker spaniels are reported to have a higher rates of obesity among dogs, while in the cat category,Manx, Maine coon and Russian blues are more likely to be obese.
If your pet is overweight (which is defined as 10 percent over ideal body weight), you can't easily see or feel his ribs. If he is obese (20 percent over ideal body weight), you can't feel his ribs and your pet has no discernible waist.