Nation’s top pet insurer warns of pet obesity epidemic

Nation’s top pet insurer warns of pet obesity epidemic | Insurance Business

Nation’s top pet insurer warns of pet obesity epidemic

Americans are overindulging their pets, according to a new report from Nationwide, the country’s largest provider of pet health insurance. Nearly 20% of Nationwide members’ pet insurance claims in 2017 were for conditions related to pet obesity.

Those claims racked up more than $69 million in veterinary expenses, according to the firm. Obesity-related claims have risen 24% over the last eight years, the insurer said.

Excess body fat in pets increases the risk of preventable health issues and may shorten life expectancy. Nationwide recently analyzed its database to determine the top 10 dog and cat conditions related to or made worse by obesity:

Dogs:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Bladder/urinary tract disease
  3. Liver disease
  4. Low thyroid hormone
  5. Torn knee ligaments
  6. Diseased spinal disc
  7. Diabetes
  8. Chronic kidney disease
  9. Heart failure
  10. High blood pressure

Cats:

  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, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “The new year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid excess weight gain. Scheduling a routine wellness exam with a veterinarian is an effective way to get started on monitoring your pet’s weight.”