A newly released report showed that one in three pets that visited Banfield pet hospitals in the U.S. in 2016 were overweight.
The report by Banfield Pet Hospital, which has more than 900 locations across the U.S., said that the percentage of overweight cats has grown 169 percent over the past ten years while dogs has increased 158 percent.
The data detailed the dangers of an overweight pet. Obese cats have been connected to more than 20 ailments while a healthy dog could delay the beginning of numerous chronic diseases. The report also said pet owners will spend more on health care and food for an overweight pet.
“More than 20 disease conditions have been linked with pets being overweight,” Dr. Kirk Breuninger, a research associate at the hospital, told USA Today. “While some may say ‘My pet looks cute being pudgy or plump,’ ultimately carrying those extra pounds contributes to exasperating these diseases.”
The reason pets become overweight is due to overfeeding, a shortage of exercise, breed and genetics and pet owners not knowing what weight qualifies as “overweight,” the report stated.
“We know a few things that are really linked with pets becoming overweight, one of which is pets not getting enough exercise, pets eating too much food, and pet owners who really consider pets a part of the family use treats as a form of communication with pets," Breuninger said.
The report explained what could constitute as an overweight dog and how many calories dogs should take in every day depending on their size.
“Even small changes can have big long-term effects,” Breuninger said. “Even just going a few extra blocks can have a big difference and if you think about yourself, if you don’t exercise enough feel sluggish and not at your best and we have seen pets likely feel the same way too.”