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Pet Obesity Up for 8th Straight Year, Insurer Warns

The trend is driving higher vet expenses.

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Pet obesity is on the rise for the eighth straight year, according to 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. That amounted to more than $69 million in veterinary expenses.

The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 24 percent increase over the last eight years, according to a press release from the company.

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 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.

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

Most Common Cat Obesity-Related Conditions

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  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

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, 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.”

With more than 700,000 insured pets, Nationwide bills itself as “the first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the United States.”

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Pet Food Startup Appears On ‘Shark Tank,’ Gets $550K Investment from Mark Cuban

The money comes from Mark Cuban.

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BERKELEY, CA — Wild Earth, a biotech startup company focused on pet food, announced that it has accepted an investment of $550,000 from serial entrepreneur, investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban on the ABC hit SHARK TANK. The episode premiered Sunday, March 17, and is available on demand at ABC.go.com for a limited time.

Cuban’s interest in Wild Earth stems from both his belief in scientific/technological solutions and his concern for environmental sustainability. Upon pitching the Sharks, Wild Earth had raised $4 million from both leading Silicon Valley and impact investors. Cuban’s ownership stake in Wild Earth is 10 percent.

“There’s an enormous potential market for lower-cost, sustainable protein to feed the growing worldwide pet population and Wild Earth is now the alpha dog in this space,” Cuban said.

Wild Earth’s treats, and its upcoming food for dogs, are made from eco-friendly and renewably sourced Koji (Aspergillus oryzae). Koji is a complete protein containing all ten essential amino acids dogs need, and requires dramatically fewer resources than farming animals to produce the same nutritional value. With 25-30 percent of meat’s environmental impact in the U.S. attributed to pet food, Wild Earth is developing alternatives to ensure we can sustainably nourish more than a billion pets by 2050.

“The Sharks were understandably tough on me, and questioned the need to create healthier and more sustainable products for our pets, but Mark, the biggest Shark of them all, understood our mission and the massive opportunity best,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “Mark and his team’s impact has already been huge — since their investment, we’ve successfully launched our first three products and gone nationwide both online and in retail.”

Cuban, owner of the 2011 World Champion Dallas Mavericks and the bestselling author of “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” is owner and chairman of AXS TV (www.axs.tv). He co-owns the Landmark Theater chain, Magnolia Pictures, and Magnolia Home Video; founded HDNet, Broadcast.com, and MicroSolutions; other successes include Mahalo, JungleCents.commotionlift.comFilesanywhere.com, Naked Pizza and 140Fire.com. For more information visit markcubancompanies.com.

Wild Earth’s Good Protein Dog Snacks are free of animal ingredients, antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, additives, fillers, and mystery ingredients. The veterinarian-developed formula offers omega fatty acids, digestion-boosting enzymes, and prebiotics to support gastrointestinal microbiomes.

Wild Earth treats are available in five-ounce bags online at WildEarth.comAmazon.com, at select brick-and-mortar retail stores, and wholesale to pet food retailers.

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Grooming-Tools Brand Acquired

The tools will be rebranded and redesigned.

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Fetch for Pets, a New York-based pet-product manufacturer, has purchased Spetacular grooming tools from Vu Promo Inc.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fetch designs, develops and distributes grooming liquids and tools as well as products in the categories of dental care, stain/odor control, waste management, toys, apparel, accessories, treats and more.

The Spetacular tools are widely distributed at Walmart stores. Fetch plans to rebrand and redesign the tools, incorporating proprietary bristles and making them more lightweight and ergonomic.

Spetacular plans to reintroduce the brand, with the products hitting shelves and walmart.com by summer 2019.

The grooming tools will be for both dogs and cats. Their price range will be $7.99 to $9.99.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to enhance a retailer’s set,” said Steven Shweky, CEO of Fetch. “Seventy percent of our company is comprised of product developers whose sole focus is to innovate and bring something new and exciting to our retail partners.

“This is just the first of many new brand launches and overhauls we have lined up for 2019.”

Check out the company at Global Pet Expo booth 4067.

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Stop by the PETS+ Booth at Global, Play with a Puppy — and Maybe Even Find Your New Pet

Florida Little Dog Rescue will be at our booth all week.

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Attending Global Pet Expo? Miss your pet?

Come to booth  4039 to get your free subscription to PETS+ Magazine and meet your new best friend.

Florida Little Dog Rescue will be at our booth all week! Play with a puppy,
get your furry fix, and maybe even take one home.

Exhibitors, if you’d like to donate to Florida Little Dog Rescue, be sure to stop by our booth.

Florida Little Dog Rescue is a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates unwanted, abused and abandoned little dogs and places them in loving and responsible homes to live out their lives as cherished family members.

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