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Is Pet Obesity Underestimated?

Is Pet Obesity Underestimated?

About one-third of adults in the U.S. obese and, according to information from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) (compiled by Newsweek), 21 percent of pets are too. As the figures indicate, people tend to underestimate whether or nor a pet is obese: A web survey found that only 8 percent of dog owners say their pets are obese.

Owners of cats similarly underestimate their pet’s obesity, with implications for their health. Pets who are obese can have health problems including osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, pulmonary and heart diseases, injuries, kidney disease and cancer, as well as shortened lifespans.

To put this information into perspective, the APOP offers these comparisons.

Did you realize a 12 pound Yorkie is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds and a 14 pound cat is equivalent to a 237 pound man? Did you consider that a 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5’ 4” female or 217 pound 5’ 9” male or a fluffy feline that weighs 15 pounds (DSH) is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male?

As the author LifeLines, a comparative physiologist and self-described owner of a “Garfield-like cat,” comments, “they are easier to take care of when they are what I like to call ‘cuddly.’ After he lost weight, [his cat] had so much more energy to get into mischief in the middle of the night!”

The APOP’s site also has a number of Pet-to-Human Weight Equivalent Charts for different species of dogs.

A recent New York Times article about gourmet to-go food for pets is perhaps a symptom of the problem of pet obesity. A 40-pound dog eating a pig’s ear is the equivalent of a person “drinking a whole six-pack of Coke” (regular) and a 20-pound dog eating a biscuit is the same as one of us humans “eating two Keebler E.L. Fudge Double-Stuffed cookies” — reason indeed to be careful about one too many treats, and to make sure everyone gets in their daily walks and exercise.


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6:23AM PST on Jan 1, 2014

Good points. If you love your pet, you won't overfeed it and allow it to become unhealthy.

5:07PM PST on Dec 10, 2013

Wow. America is fat.

6:37AM PST on Nov 19, 2013

Obesity is never a good thing in pets or humans.

10:59AM PDT on Oct 22, 2013

I've had only one cat that was overweight. He was a "stress eater" who ate more when he was bored or stressed out. The vet once said that, while the cat was a larger-boned cat, he should get down to 15 pounds. I had to ration his cat food and make sure to give him some extra attention so that he could get some exercise. I later discovered that dry cat food was a poor choice, as it tends to have a lot of salt and sugar in it, not unlike human junk food. I have to watch what I give my animals. Even horse grain can have too much sugar and make horses hyper, a bad combination for an Arabian horse that tends to be more high-strung. Also, one size does not fit all. The individual animal's health has to be taken into consideration.

2:54AM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Please stop killing your pet by food

11:51PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

I don't understand how someone could let their child (animal or human) become very overweight or obese. If someone is starving their child it is considered cruelty and neglect yet if someone over feeds their child and lets them sit around and not exercise (once again this is for human or non human child) it is not considered cruelty and neglect!? Either way you are killing your child!

9:39AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

We have 5 cats and none of them are considered overweight. But, 2 of the females have a tummy that waddles when they walk.

Their favorite game is to chase each other through the house, off & on all day.

10:46PM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

People who do this to their pets should be charged with animal abuse.

10:57PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Obesity kills pets, just as it does their owners.

I recently had to help a good friend put down his dog, owing to a condition that was gravely aggravated by obesity to the point of his rear legs becoming useless, a dog that would otherwise lived for several more years.

The owner knew that the dog was overweight, but rationalized the junk food diet on the grounds that the dog liked it. Which, by the way, is also killing my friend. :(

9:38AM PST on Feb 27, 2012

our pets are fat because we feed them junk packaged food full of carbohydrates that is not part of their diet. cats and dogs eat raw fresh meats.

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