Arthritis is a real problem among our canine friends. According to experts, the number of dogs affected by the condition have more than tripled since 2015. An affliction most commonly associated with elderly humans, arthritis has numerous causes, including genetic makeup, a previous injury, smoking heavily, and infections. What is causing this rapid increase in the number of dogs being diagnosed? Animal Friends, a pet insurer that recently undertook a survey of over 20,000 pet health records, is pretty sure that pet parents are having a hand in the health of their dogs – and has warned that diagnoses could rise further.
How is this possible? For starters, our pets are being spoiled more than ever, eating plenty of food and treats that they'd normally never touch. This, combined with a lack of exercise and poor lifestyle choices, has meant that our dogs are obese. While we may feel as though we are spoiling our beloved pets, we're actually doing more harm than good. The media is filled with scary stories regarding the obesity crisis and our fear of exercise, but did you realize that this also extends to our pets?
British Veterinary Association President Sean Wensley tends to agree: "It is entirely plausible that we are experiencing a pet obesity epidemic, with increasing numbers of pets – including dogs – that are overweight or obese. And we know that carrying excess weight is a clear risk factor for arthritis. The chief reason is that owners are giving their pets excess or inappropriate food… Pets have relatively small bodies compared to us and can really struggle to burn off the excess calories that they are being given," he told the UK's Telegraph newspaper.
In addition to the factors introduced by pet parents comes the simple fact that our furry friends are living far longer these days. Arthritis is commonly associated with general wear and tear, and is, in many cases, unavoidable. Pet parents who have any concerns regarding arthritis should contact their veterinary practice in order to seek the right kind of treatment.