Cats and Dogs Might Have Gained the “Covid 15,” But New Data Reveals a Pet Obesity Epidemic Existed Long Before Quarantine

VANCOUVER, wash., June 21, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Owners wonder how the long-term impact the pandemic could have on their pets if they notice extra pounds in their cats and dogs or expect separation anxiety upon return to work. New data from the Banfield Pet Hospital® electronic veterinary health record system – the largest in the US – confirms suspicions of heavier pets last year. A broader look highlights an even more worrying reality: diagnoses of overweight and obesity in cats and dogs emerged at epidemic proportions long before the quarantine.

Analyzing the health records of the millions of pets seen in the practice each year, Banfield has seen the percentage of dogs diagnosed as being overweight or obese increased by 108% over the past decade, from 16% im In 2011 to 34% in 2020. The increase in cats was even greater: 114%, a jump from 18% in 2011 to 38% in 2020. Looking at the data from March 2020 to December 2020dogs diagnosed as overweight or obese increased 2.3%, the largest increase in overweight / obese dogs in Banfield over the past 10 years.

“At Banfield, our goal is to provide high quality preventive care to the more than 3 million pets we see each year. That includes equipping owners with tools and resources so that their pets can lead happy and healthy lives, ”said Molly McAllister, Chief Medical Officer at Banfield. “We want pet owners to know that they are not alone with their pet’s weight. You can work with your veterinarian to determine your pet’s ideal weight and the appropriate steps to take together without evaluating. It is clear from the data that many pets and their owners are struggling with this problem and Banfield is here to help. “

Banfield now offers virtual nutrition counseling sessions and in-office sessions with veterinary technicians to make it easier than ever to work with pet owners on pet nutritional needs, diet ingredients and a healthier weight.

Maintaining a healthy weight in pets is about more than just maintaining a slim waistline – it’s about helping them live healthy, more comfortable lives.

Compared to ideal weight pets, dogs and cats diagnosed as being overweight or obese are more likely to experience other serious medical conditions. If you look at the diagnoses of these pets in 2020:

  • Overweight dogs were almost 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with dermatological problems such as skin infections and almost 7 times more likely in overweight cats, which could be due to the fact that overweight pets have more difficulty keeping themselves clean because of the extra pounds .
  • Overweight dogs were diagnosed with diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism almost 4 times and overweight cats 5 times more often.
  • Obese dogs were three times more likely to be diagnosed with orthopedic conditions or mobility problems related to bone and joint injuries.
    • According to Banfield’s Veterinary Emerging Topics (VET) ™ Report 2021, more than 150,000 dogs are diagnosed each year with osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic, progressive joint disease caused by inflammation and damage to joint tissue, with weight being a key factor. You can read more here.
  • Overweight dogs were 2 times more likely to be diagnosed with respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis and almost 4 times more likely in overweight cats.
  • Obese cats were four times more likely to be diagnosed with urinary tract diseases such as urinary stones.

There is no definitive answer to why the number of obese pets continues to increase, and there are many factors that can affect a pet’s weight. To better understand the key barriers to successful weight management at home, Banfield surveyed 1,000 owners in the United States. While 88% of those questioned agreed that there are far more overweight pets today than there were ten years ago, 1 in 10 disagreed with this statement – although additional awareness-raising among pet owners is required.

Of those with overweight or obese pets, 93% said they had difficulty maintaining a healthy weight for their cat or dog, with the main reasons being:

  • Giving in when their pet begs for food or treats (46%)
  • Not Knowing The Best Pet Weight Loss Strategies (30%)
  • Difficulty training their pet due to their own health or mobility issues (29%) and not having enough time to move their pet (26%)
  • Not paying enough attention to their pet’s diet (23%)

Although the majority of owners (95%) say they are concerned about the associated health risks of adding extra pounds in their pets, 41% said they postponed the vet visit to avoid admitting their pet’s weight speak. Fortunately, even small adjustments can have long-term benefits, and veterinary teams can offer support to make these changes feel less daunting and more manageable.

Below are some tips from Banfield Vets that owners can incorporate into their daily routine.

  • First and foremost, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian regularly, who can monitor progress and adjust the weight loss plan along the way. Just like with humans, pet weight management is unique to each pet.
  • Instead of running three miles a day with your dog, start by walking a few extra blocks. You can also use dog walking services in your area if you don’t have time or are unable to go outside that day.
  • Cut down on “personal foods,” which can quickly add extra pounds to pets, and limit treats to no more than 10 percent of the pet’s daily calories. Not sure what to feed your pet? No formula or amount is ideal for all pets, so it is important that you consult your veterinarian or veterinary technician for advice on the best diet for your pet’s needs.
  • If you’re looking for indoor options, there are a variety of activities you can do with your pet to keep them both physically and mentally enthralled, such as: B. play a game of hide and seek with his favorite toy or teach him a new trick.
  • Interactive feeders and games where dogs or cats work a little for their food can also help increase their activity.

“As part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of brands, we are committed to using our size and scale to share pet health data and insights to advance veterinary care and support the growing human-animal relationship,” said Brian Garish, President of Banfield. “By positively influencing pets and helping them live healthy lives, we have a unique opportunity to transform the lives of people and society at large.”

“At Mars Petcare, we are harnessing the power of data in our veterinary health, genetics, nutrition, activity tracking and diagnostics businesses to advance research that informs everything we do, including providing better, more tailored care for our pets,” said Darren Logan, Head of Research at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute. “Our data-driven science is helping researchers better understand this complex disease. It also allows veterinarians and owners to band together to talk about weight gain, and to work together to maintain healthy pet weights and reverse this worrying trend of obesity. “

“At Royal Canin, our goal is to inspire pet owners to adopt healthy habits from the start, and we equip partners and pet owners with the knowledge and nutrition they need to solve weight problems before and after they occur,” said Dr. Ask Schoeman, Scientific Assistance Specialist at Royal Canin. “We commend pet professionals for their dedication to helping cats and dogs live healthier lives, and together we can all work to create a better world for pets.”

About Banfield Pet Hospital®
Banfield Pet Hospital was in. founded Portland, Ore. 1955 and is now a pioneer in preventive veterinary medicine with more than 1,000 general animal clinics in 42 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. More than 3,600 veterinarians in Banfield are committed to providing high quality veterinary care to over three million pets annually. Banfield collects data from each of these visits in the largest electronic veterinary health record system in the United States. Our goal is to be there for pets, people and society. As part of the Mars Veterinary Health practice family, Banfield is committed to our goal – A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS® – because pets make a better world for us. The press looking for additional information is asked to call the media hotline: (888) 355-0595.

SOURCE Banfield Pet Hospital