Weighty issues: Top obesity-related health problems in pets


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Just as it does in humans, weight gain in your pets can cause other problems aside from some bulk around their midsection. Some possible health problems include arthritis, diabetes and liver disease, not to mention the fact that excessive weight can shorten their life expectancy.

Veterinary Pet Insurance has seen pet obesity-related claims increase over the last three years. In 2012, VPI filed more than $34 million in claims.

The company took a look at its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to establish the top dog and cat obesity-related conditions in 2012. 


Most common dog obesity-related conditions

  1. Arthritis

  2. Bladder/urinary tract disease

  3. Undiagnosed limp

  4. Low thyroid hormone

  5. Liver disease

  6. Torn knee ligaments

  7. Diseased disc in the spine

  8. Diabetes

  9. Heart failure

  10. Chronic kidney disease


Most common cat obesity-related conditions

  1. Bladder/urinary tract disease

  2. Chronic kidney disease

  3. Diabetes

  4. Asthma

  5. Liver disease

  6. High blood pressure

  7. Arthritis

  8. Undiagnosed limp

  9. Heart failure

  10. Gall bladder disorder


While it can sometimes be difficult to determine if your pet is obese, there are ways to make the determination, including:

  • It is difficult to feel ribs under the fat;

  • He or she has a sagging stomach;

  • He or she has a broad, flat back; and

  • He or she has no waist.


And of course, we as pet owners have the ability to control our pets’ weight. A regulated diet and routine exercise — sound familiar? — are key to controlling your pet’s weight.