Pet Insurance Claims for Obesity-Related Conditions are on the Rise
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Pet Insurance Claims for Obesity-Related Conditions are on the Rise

January 27, 2016

It's no secret that the United States has a weight problem, but data from one insurer finds that obesity is also on the rise for our furry companions.

Data from pet insurance provider Nationwide found that pet obesity is on the rise for the fifth straight year. Members in 2014 filed more than $54 million in pet insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity, which the company says is a 10 percent growth over the past two years.

"Pet owners need to be aware of the quality and amount of food or treats they give their furry family members," Nationwide's Carol McConnell said in a written statement. McConnell is the company's vice president and chief veterinary medical officer. "The New Year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and begin to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid obesity. Regular wellness visits to your veterinarian are the most effective way to monitor your pet's weight, along with being aware of signs of weight gain."

Much like with their owners, excessive body fat in pets increases the risk of preventable health issues and shortens the life expectancy of dogs and cats. After going through its database of more than 550,000 insured pets, the company found that arthritis is the top obesity related condition in dogs and bladder/urinary tract disease is the top condition for cats.

In 2014 alone, the company received more than 42,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in dogs, which is a condition aggravated by excessive weight. Average treatment costs come in around $300 per pet. There were far less claims for bladder or urinary tract disease in cats, about 4,700, but the average claim about was about $425.

To keep your pet's weight in check, Nationwide suggests,

  • Avoid feeding your pet table scraps.
  • Keep a consistent diet by monitoring the amount of food you give your pet.
  • Regulate the amount the treats you give your pet.
  • Establish a healthy and fun exercise schedule.