Do you have a pet that is considered obese? Do you know what the risk factors are of obesity in your pet?
These are some interesting questions and facts.
- Approximately 62% of US households own at least one pet = 71.4 million homes
- US Population (Source: 2009 US Census Bureau) = 305 million
- 68% of adult Americans are overweight or obese = approximately 148 million (Source: 2010 CDC)
I think it’s really important to talk about the risk factors. Along with humans, our pets carry a large risk of disease, injury, and premature death. It’s real, and needs to be addressed if we want to keep our beloved best friends here on the earth, as they already have such a short time here with us. Some of the risk factors that come along with pet obesity, are osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, and decreased life expectancy. The forms of injury that we see in the dog wheelchair industry is cranial cruciate ligament injury, and disc and spinal injury in dogs.
We all chuckle at our overweight pets, and call them “my sweet little pudge”, or “my little chunk”, believe me, I have two overweight pets, so all fingers are pointed in my direction as well as the worlds.
All joking aside, I’m a real science junky. I like to know how things work, and get really deep into how, why, when, where. Let’s talk about the biomechanics of joint pain associated with obesity. Did you know that when walking, the force of weight on the knees and hips is 1.5 times the body weight? Getting up, sitting down, and climbing stairs, is 2 to 3 times, and running can have a force of up to 4-5 times body weight. So what if your 80 lb dog lost 5 lbs? That could decrease the force on joints when your dog is climbing the stairs, of up to 15 lbs. And while running, of up to 25 lbs!
In the dog wheelchair industry, we see a lot of arthritis! Arthritis comes with getting old. Depending on what type of arthritis you have, is a number of things can be going wrong with the joints. Simple wearing away of cartilage, infection, lack of fluid, or combination. But can you imaging, if you dog develops arthritis over time, and you have kept his or her weight to a normal, how much less pain he will be in if that time comes.
Here’s a great statistic! Did you know that “A 2006 study by Pfizer Animal Health showed that while 47 percent of veterinarians felt their canine patients were obese, only 17 percent of dog owners agreed.”
Wow, that’s a huge statistic!
And simply cutting down on treats and overfeeding can save you money. “According to VPI Pet Insurance, in 2009, policyholders filed more than $17 million in claims for conditions and diseases that can be caused by excess weight.”
So let’s keep talking about pet obesity. If you have gotten weight off your pet, tell us how you did it, and share it. It might help others.
“Obesity facts and risks.” Association for pet obesity prevention. http://www.petobesityprevention.com/pet-obesity-fact-risks/
Gene Patterson, “How Obesity Affects Joints.” Yahoo Voices. Gene Patterson, Feb 24, 2011, http://voices.yahoo.com/how-obesity-affects-joints-7869508.html?cat=51
“Pet Obesity Danger” VPI Pet Insurance. http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health/Pet-Obesity-Danger.aspx