American Pets Getting Fatter

About 89 million American pets are overweight or obese says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Their weight problems put them at risk of diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and other diseases.

The association’s website has an animal weight to human weight translator. They say a 12 pound Yorkie is the same as a human female weighing 218 pounds. A female golden retriever weighing 84 pounds would be like a human male five feet and nine inches tall weighing 218 pounds. A pug weighing 28 pounds would be like a five-foot-four-inch woman weighing 226 pounds. It is tragic that many American pets are overweight to the point of a potential life-threatening disease.

Some pet owners may not be aware how overweight their pet is and believe they are showing love or affection to their animal by feeding it too much.

Some pet treats contain too many calories, just like human snack foods. According to their chart, a large Busy Bone Chew dental treat has 600 calories, but for some very small dogs that could be more calories than they need for an entire day. For others it could be half of their daily calories, and not merely a snack.  Even Small Chew-eez Beefhide Rolls, w/Tasty Middles have 171 calories. For a ten pound dog, that could nearly be one meal.

If a dog is given a well-balanced diet, why should snacks be needed? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact they exist to make profits for pet food companies. Sales of pet treats has been estimated at about $2 billion for 2010 in America.

Sugar has been added to a number of pet treats, and sugar is additional calories. They are also empty calories as they contain no nutrients. Furthermore, eating sugar regularly can affect pet behavior. “Numerous studies in rats demonstrate that overfeeding sugar can create symptoms similar to drug addiction. A dog’s daily sweet treat may be contributing to overeating and other undesirable behaviors. This is why I call today’s high-sugar treats kibble crack,’” said veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. (Source:

Pet obesity is now enough of a problem there is an annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. It was October 13th.

Image Credit: Ellen Levy Finch

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Laura Saxon
Past Member 2 years ago

I know all about this issue because our two cats are so fat they have dewlaps.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

Very interesting article

LMj Sunshine

Sadly not surprising, thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Sadly not surprising, thank you.

Susan L.
Susan L.4 years ago

My pets aren't obese or even fat - I've got healthy, sleek, frisky cats with shiny coats - and I think I know why - they're VEGAN !!

I am so disgusted with the animal-based pet foods. Not only are you feeding your pets animals who were treated cruelly and slaughtered inhumanely at a mere fraction of their natural lives. But animal-based pet food also tends to make pets OBESE.

Now that's obscene.

Go Vegan. Pets too. Visit Or try the Ami or Evolution vegan pet foods which are nutritionally complete, satisfying to your pet and won't make them fat like the tortured animal food does!

Angie c.
Angie cr5 years ago

we are fatter and we are makinf our pets as fat as we are....

Allegra W.
Past Member 5 years ago

Having pets is a responsibility and watching their weight is one of those responsibilities. I weigh each of my four cats every week.

Roberto Vivas
Roberto Vivas5 years ago

As a mailman I notice that not many people walk their dogs as much as they should,they walk up a block and back for about 15 minutes and they're back home to the sofa...

Deborah H.
Deborah H.5 years ago

I'm sure the quality of pet food has changed over the years. If factory farms are feeding livestock crap that fattens them faster, which in turn fattens Americans, it's going to fatten our pets too. Make your pet's food homemade (with a recipe to get all the proper nutrients) or at least buy organic pert food.

Krasimira B.
Krasimira B.5 years ago

Read, thank you Jake.