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Pet Obesity-related Insurance Claims Increase for Eighth Consecutive Year


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Pet obesity is on the rise for the eighth straight year, according to data from Nationwide, a provider of pet health insurance. Nearly 20 percent of Nationwide members' pet insurance claims in 2017 were for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity—equaling a sum of more than $69 million in veterinary expenses. The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 24 percent increase over the last eight years.

As with people, excessive body fat in pets 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 700,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat conditions related to or made worse by obesity. Below are the results:

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

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. Diseased Disc in the Spine
  7. Diabetes
  8. Chronic Kidney Disease
  9. Heart Failure
  10. High Blood Pressure

In 2017, Nationwide received more than 57,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in dogs, the most common disease aggravated by excessive weight, which carried an average treatment fee of $323 per pet. With more than 5,800 pet insurance claims, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition in cats, which had an average claim amount of $495 per pet. 

“Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, 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.”

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