Is this a sign of economic improvement in Michigan or something entirely different?  According to a newly released study Michigan ranks #3 nationwide when it comes to overweight cats and dogs.

The newly released study came from the Vancouver, Washington based Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2017 State of Pet Health report.  Banfield Pet Hospital is a nationwide chain that analyzed data from 2.5 million dogs and 505,000 cat patients across their hospitals.

Michigan ranked only behind Minnesota and Nebraska with the most overweight dogs and cats.

By the way the number of overweight cats in Michigan were less percentage wise than dogs, in fact we rated 6th in the United States when it came to overweight cats behind Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, and Delaware.

Banfield, which operates many clinics inside of PetSmart stores for the last ten years stated they saw a 169% increase in overweight cats and a 158% increase in overweight dogs.

Dr. Kirk Breuninger, the lead researcher on the study was quoted in a Detroit Free Press article stating that:

  • 38% of dogs in Michigan were overweight, compared to 30% nationally.
  • Thirty-nine percent of Michigan cats were overweight, compared to a 33% national average.

Why this sudden increase in overweight dogs and cats, well Dr, Breuninger was also quoted in that article stating:

What we think really contributes to it is that owners are now considering pets to be more and more to be part of the family. And because of that they use food as a form of communication and to show affection.  So they end up giving a lot more treats. And probably more treats than are necessary in the course of one day.

Why should this matter to you as a pet owner of an overweight dog or cat?

Well a news release from Dr. Breuninger stated:

Being overweight does not simply impact how a pet looks or feels. It is also associated with other chronic conditions that can have negative consequences for a pet’s overall health and quality of life.

So it appears our dogs and cats probably need to go on the same diets we need to or at least possibly should.  Put down that bag of chips and the bag of dog or cat treats and take them for a walk.

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