State of Pet Health Report 2012

“The health of America’s pets is deteriorating; pets are getting sicker than they need to,” says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, medical director Banfield the Pet Hospital.

Klausner bases his candid assessment on the “Banfield Pet Hospital State of Pet Health 2012 Report.” The document offers the only meaningful sum of available data to sum up pet health in America. There’s no Centers for Disease Control for pets, but the Banfield report provides the next best thing; their 800 hospitals in 43 states report all illnesses to their database, trekking every detail on pet health. Last year, 2,600 Banfield veterinarians saw over two million dogs and nearly 430,000 cats.

While there are about 20 percent more cats than dogs in the U.S., cats represented less than a quarter of visits to the veterinarian, according to the Report. Is it because cats rarely get sick? “Not at all,” says Klausner. “Overall, veterinary visits have been on the decline for some time. This is particularly true for cats – we need to get cats into the veterinary clinic.”

The number of overweight or obese cats has increased a whopping 90 percent over the past five years, Banfield’s data shows. Dogs aren’t exactly maintaining their svelte figures either, as overweight and obese canines increased 37 percent over the past five years. Klausner doesn’t mince words, “It’s an epidemic,” he says.

There are many explanations for the striking rise in weight gain among pets. One is that pet owners truly aren’t aware their pet is overweight. According to the Report, 76 percent of dog owners and 69 percent cat owners don’t know their best friend is flabby.

Interestingly, Minnesota has the highest rate of overweight dogs and cats. South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Washington State also rank high. What does this mean? Klausner admits he’s not sure, especially since these states don’t correlate where the most people are overweight and obese. (According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Colorado actually has the lowest obesity rate nationwide for people; West Virginia has the highest obesity rate followed by Delaware, Mississippi and Louisiana).

No doubt the rise in arthritis, diabetes and several other problems mentioned in Banfield’s Report is correlate to the increase in weight gain. According to the study, since 2007 the prevalence of arthritis in dogs has increased 38 percent. It’s relatively recent that veterinarians are even considering arthritis in cats, and instances have gone up 67 percent over the past five years. Also, not surprising, the states with the most overweight pets also tend to have the most that are arthritic and diabetic.

Here are some more facts and figures from the “Banfield Pet Hospital State of Pet Health 2012 Report:”

  • The most common small dog breeds (under 20 lbs): Chihuahua, Scottish Terrier
  • The most common medium dogs (20 to 50 lbs): Beagle and Boxer
  • The most common large dogs (50 to 90 lbs.): German Shepherd dog and Golden Retriever
  • The most common giant dogs (over 90 lbs.) Great Dane and Great Pyrenees
  • One of the most common dogs seen, overall: dogs described as Pit Bulls
  • Overall dog trends: More mixed breed dogs, fewer dogs described (by weight) as large and giant.
  • The most common names for cats: Tiger, Max and Kitty
  • The most common names for dogs: Max, Buddy and Bella

tweet it post it Share It Plus It Print It

Positively Expert: Steve Dale

Steve is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant, has written several books, hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows, and has appeared on numerous TV shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "National Geographic Explorer," and "Pets Part of the Family." Steve’s blog is


14 thoughts on “State of Pet Health Report 2012

  1. Tatiana Braine

    Hi Victoria, My name is Tatiana Braine, I work in pet care field over 15 years. I moved to USA from Europe in 1995 and started my pet services business in Virginina in 2009. I love your philosophy in dog training and I deeply respect your work. You do a wonderful job, I pick some things from you. I am so glad you brought up this very topical subgect, and I really hope that many pet owners read this post. When I work with my clients and suggest their dog is overweigt, they often reply their vet says dog is good, and chat is over. I think people make their own choice.

  2. Linda

    There's a lot of misinformation out there concerning nutrition for animals, training, behavioral issues. There can't be enough education on the subjects of animal welfare.

  3. Pingback: Pup links! « Doggerel

  4. Thomas Cole

    Steve Dale's blog points out an fascinating anomaly: Banfield suggests that Minnesota has the tubbiest pets. Yet the "MapMyFitness" survey states that Minnesota is the 10th fittest state for humans. Minneapolis, the largest city in Minnesota, is ranked as the "fittest city in the nation." Apparently, healthy humans does not equate to healthy pets. Here's the link to the survey =

  5. Pingback: State of Pet Health Report 2012 | Dog Training articles

  6. Kim

    It is sad that so many pet owners don't pay any attention to the weight of their beloved pet friends.

  7. Paul

    We must pay attention not only to weight and overall heath, but they need vitamin's to keep help them also.

  8. Pet Bounce

    Our pets can't speak for themselves, but you can tell when your family friend is hurting. Perhaps they're having a bit of a difficult time getting up after resting, or more reluctant to jump up into your lap or go outside for a walk....

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Episode 833 - Dogs and Wolves

Dogs share a common ancestor – the wolf – but how did wolves turn into dogs and what can we learn from wolves that might help...

Episode 832 - Dogs and Aggressive Behavior

Aggression is a serious behavior issue that is all too common in our domestic dogs. Aggression expert Michael Shikashio joins...

Episode 831 - How to Treat Separation Anxiety

Why do dogs become anxious when home alone and how can this be prevented? Dog trainer Lisa Waggoner joins Victoria and Holly for...

find a vspdt trainer
Schedule a consultation via skype or phone