America’s pets are growing increasingly fatter, new research has found.
About one-third of dogs and cats in the U.S. are now overweight, according to a report released Tuesday by Banfield Pet Hospital, which operates nearly 1,000 veterinary clinics across the country and Puerto Rico.
The organization found the number of overweight cats spiked 169% from 10 years ago, while the number of overweight dogs jumped 158%. Banfield said it analyzed visits in 2016 from 2.5 million dogs and 505,000 cats.
The figures are alarming since obesity can have serious consequences and is associated with other chronic conditions and diseases, including arthritis and tracheal collapse in dogs, researchers said.
"Overweight pets — and the many related conditions associated with those extra pounds — are critical issues that we strive to both educate pet owners on and address in partnership with our clients to ultimately help pets live their best life," Dr. Daniel Aja, Banfield’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, said in a statement.
The report said overfeeding and lack of exercise are major contributing factors of obesity in pets.
"Obesity is so common that many people underestimate their pet's body condition, preventing them from taking action to manage their pet's weight," the Banfield report said.