Food

The Health Risks of Having a Fat Pet

I recently discussed some of the common health risks that pets face from being overweight.  The list of diseases and ailments that are associated with a pet being overweight is both long and serious, and will likely contribute to a lower quality of life for the pet and a shorter pet life span.  If these medical conditions are not enough to make a pet parent pay closer attention to their pet’s weight, than perhaps the financial costs of having a fat pet will do so.

Pet parents who have overweight pets will almost certainly spend a lot more money on their pet, both in terms of food (obviously) and medical treatments, than they otherwise would if their pet was at more ideal weight.  Just how much money depends on many factors, but overfeeding a pet a little each day week could easily cost a person $50-$100 a year in extra food costs.

The medical costs of treating a pet having a disease related to their weight is even more damaging to a budget.  In 2009, a study at the Michigan State veterinary hospital and funded by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, was conducted to determine the annual treatment costs associated with common canine and feline diseases and disorders.  The results are shown in the Tables below.

Annual Costs of Common Canine Diseases

Annual Veterinary Treatment Costs, Canine Diseases

Disorder/Disease

Average Cost

Heart disease

$1,912

Hypertension

$1,700

Osteoarthritis

$1,656

Cancer

$2,447

Diabetes

$1,108

Pancreatitis

$1,422

Obesity + ruptured ACL

$2,367

Chronic kidney disease

$1,823

Annual Costs of Common Feline Diseases

 

Annual Veterinary Treatment Costs, Feline Diseases

Disorder/Disease

Average Cost

Heart disease

$1,065

Hypertension

$1,241

Osteoarthritis

$286

Cancer

$994

Diabetes

$860

Pancreatitis

$1,483

Chronic kidney disease

$1,065

Hyperthyroidism

$1,401

The cost to treat a pet with any one of these disorders is obviously significant.  These are estimated annual costs, which means that a pet’s total treatment costs over a lifetime could easily exceed $10,000 depending on the disease and age at diagnosis.  Even worse, an overweight pet might develop multiple diseases due to their weight problem raising the treatment costs even higher.

No matter how you look at it, either from the perspective of a pet’s quality of life and lifespan, or by the financial impact of having an overweight pet, the bottom line is that pet obesity is a serious problem with serious consequences.  Don’t be one of the 90% that is in denial of their pet’s condition.  Rather, focus on learning to feed your pet the correct amount of the right types of food so that they can achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  Your pet, and your wallet, will thank you for it.

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