Studies reveal that half of the dogs and cats found in American homes are overweight or obese, translating to over 85 million. Pet obesity has become a major health concern across the nation, forcing us to rethink what we throw into Fido’s bowl or pass under the table.

Yet, what we often don’t think about are the costs associated with this soaring trend. Not only are there diseases and conditions caused by obesity, but also many others that are greatly exacerbated by the extra pounds. And the increase in costs can be alarming. In fact, treating pets with diabetes, heart disease or ligament tears that are caused by weakened joints can cost you thousands in veterinary fees. According to Petplan, pet insurance claims in 2011 for heart disease increased by 32 percent, diabetes by 253 percent and arthritis by a whopping 348 percent.

But just as people need to be safe about their dieting, the same holds true for animals. If you have questions about your pet’s eating habits or changing dietary needs, consult your local veterinarian for help.