How Much Is Your Pet’s Obesity Costing You?

Fat dog drawing

(photo credit)

A recent New York Times article turned up some shocking statistics about pet obesity:

The average cost of veterinary care for a diabetic dog or cat in 2011 was more than $900, according to Petplan USA, a pet insurance company. Treatment for arthritis and cruciate ligament tears, which can be caused by the strain of an overweight frame that weakens joints, especially in dogs, cost pet owners an average of $2,000.

Half of American dogs and cats are overweight or obese – and the costs are more than financial. Health problems relating to obesity cause great physical pain to our pets and emotional pain to us.

How do you know if your pet is overweight? And what can you do about it? In the next week we’ll cover both of these topics, and offer some tips and tricks from real pet parents. Stay tuned!

5 Outrageous Pet Luxuries

Cat on Mercedes hood

(photo credit)

You may think that most Americans, after five years of a recession, are cutting back. But we’re still shelling out on our pets – we spent $51 billion on them in 2011! Here are some things pet parents are spending big bucks on:

1. Designer pet carriers

The Louis Vuitton Baxter dog carrier - a $2,000 indulgence.

The Louis Vuitton Baxter dog carrier may be sold out, but it retails for $2,000. Would you spend that much for something your pup might poop in?

2. Expensive litter boxes

The $180 Modkat litter box

When I first saw the Modkat top entry litter box, I wanted one. Badly. Until I saw the price tag – $180 for a box for my $20 Humane Society cat to crap in. The design is spectacular, especially having the entry at the top. This seemed like a great way to keep my dog from snacking on “Kitty Roca”, and the box itself, available in stylish colors, is actually nice to look at. But a litter box will always stink, and there’s no amount of design that would make me want to show one off.

After some poking around, I found another top entry litter box called the Clevercat:

The Clevercat top entry litter box

The design is basically just a Rubbermaid tub with a hole cut in the top, and doesn’t have the same features as the Modkat, but at one sixth the price, I can live with it.

3. Gourmet dog food

(photo credit)

Companies like Lucky Dog cuisine charge more to deliver homemade, “human grade” dog food to your home than the average American family on food stamps is allotted to feed actual humans.

Meanwhile, the Dog Food Advisor site lists the best foods for your dog based on actual ingredients and real dietary needs – and many of the highest rated foods are commercially available and not at all “gourmet”.

4. Modern pet furniture

The $600 DenHaus pet house

It’s a lovely piece of furniture, but would you spend $600 for the DenHaus pet den? The only furniture I’ve spent that much on are my mattress and my sofa – neither of which my dog are allowed on!

For those who want to live in a chic looking home, I understand the appeal of high design pet furniture. But the gig is up as soon as a guest notices the tumbleweeds of dog hair lurking under the coffee table or the hairball recently deposited on the living room rug.

5. Pet spas

Spoiled pup!

(photo credit)

Searching for “pet spa” on Google returns more than 33 million results. We love pampering our pets, and grooming is big business. From cat massages to dog manicures, even high-end pet-friendly hotels are now offering services like blueberry facials.

What do you think? Are we spending too much on our pets? Or are we just showing affection for our pets by treating them like the family members they are?