WASHINGTON, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Approximately one in three pets that visited a nationwide pet hospital network in the United States in 2016 was overweight or obese, the hospital's latest report said.
The 2017 report on state of pet health published recently on the website of the Banfield Pet Hospital details health habits of the 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats that visited its facilities across the country in 2016.
The report said obesity in cats and dogs has been linked to more than 20 diseases and increases cost to pet owners.
Over a four-year period, owners of overweight dogs spend 17 percent more in healthcare costs than owners of healthy-weight dogs, while those of overweight cats spend 36 percent more in diagnostic procedures, it said.
According to the report, lack of exercise, overfeeding, certain diseases that make movement uncomfortable, as well as genetic factors that make pets prone to obesity than others, are the main reasons for pets' becoming overweight.
The report suggests pet owners have regular check-ups and nutritional counseling with a veterinarian as prevention, determine weight-loss plans for overweight pets, offer rewards other than food, and make sure pets get enough exercise.