April 8, 2014
By Mark Warner
As humans have taken to dishing out unhealthy junk foods for their pets, the costs of insurance could be adversely affected for overweight animals.
Owners are forking out £215 million a year in costs for fat pets, and some pet insurance firms are looking into reducing payouts for obese animals, as the industry has done for human health insurance.
A few pet insurers already include clauses to say that pets not in a ‘normal healthy state’ when the cover is first taken out can’t claim for related illnesses or injury further down the line.
Overweight pets are at risk of many problematic conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Diabetes is frequently discovered in cats and dogs, with as many as one in 500 developing the condition.
Direct Line Pet Insurance released details of the UK’s pet-feeding habits to reveal that dogs are being fed human treats on a regular basis. These include crisps (15 per cent), chips (14 per cent), pizza (13 per cent), ice cream (10 per cent), burger or hot dog (10 per cent), KFC (4 per cent) and McDonald’s (4 per cent). Over 2.3 million owners give their dog human food instead of pet food.
Edward Barclay, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, said: “Direct Lines’ own veterinary nurses have seen cases of dogs that have needed urgent medical attention after digesting fried chicken bones, or even whole corn on the cobs, which have resulted in severe digestive problems.”