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Pet Obesity on the rise (again). It’s costly this time.

Pet Obesity on the rise (again). It’s costly this time.

Pet obesity is on the rise for the seventh straight year, according to data from insurance provider Nationwide.

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, amounting to more than $62 million in veterinary expenses, according to a press release. The boost obesity-related claims represents growth of 24 percent over the past four years.

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. The results:

“Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide, said in the release. “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, with an average claim amount of $443 per pet.

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