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Pet obesity on the rise for seventh straight year

January 03, 2018

Brea, Calif. - One of America’s most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, and statistics show that pet owners should share that goal with their dogs and cats. Data from Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reveals that pet obesity is on the rise for the seventh straight year. Nationwide members filed more than 1.4 million pet insurance claims in 2016, of which 20 percent were for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity- equaling a sum of more than $62 million in veterinary expenses. The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 24 percent growth over the last four years. 

Similar to their human counterparts, excessive body fat increases the risk of preventable health issues and may shorten the life expectancy of dogs and cats. Nationwide recently sorted through its database of more than 630,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions. Below are the results:

Most Common Dog Obesity-Related Conditions

  1. Arthritis 
  2. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  3. Liver Disease
  4. Low Thyroid Hormone
  5. Torn Knee Ligaments
  6. Diabetes
  7. Diseased Disc in the Spine
  8. Chronic Kidney Disease
  9. Heart Failure
  10. High Blood Pressure

Most Common Cat Obesity-Related Conditions

  1. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  2. Chronic Kidney Disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. Asthma
  5. Liver Disease
  6. Arthritis
  7. High Blood Pressure
  8. Heart Failure
  9. Gall Bladder Disorder
  10. Immobility of Spine

“Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “Pet owners need to be aware of the quality and amount of food or treats they give their furry family members. 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 excess weight gain. Scheduling routine wellness exams with your veterinarian is an effective way to get started on monitoring your pet’s weight, particularly for cats.” 

In 2016, Nationwide received more than 51,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in canines, the most common disease aggravated by excessive weight, which carried an average treatment fee of $310 per pet. With more than 5,000 pet insurance claims, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition in cats, which had an average claim amount of $443 per pet.  

Below are simple steps you can take to help regulate your pet’s weight:


*Consult your veterinarian to best determine your pet’s weight loss protocol.

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 630,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, travel, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.