START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Is Your Pooch Too Pudgy?

  • April 18, 2011
  • 5:01 pm
  • 1 of 2
Is Your Pooch Too Pudgy?

Half of the dogs and cats in this country are overweight, putting them at risk of joint pain, diabetes, and shortened life spans.

By Margaret Littman, Prevention

Americans aren’t the only ones whose waistlines are expanding–our pets are getting bigger too. “In twenty years I have watched pets get supersized in front of my eyes,” says Ernie Ward, DVM, a Calabash, NC, a veterinarian, author of Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter, and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).

Just over half of all cats and dogs in US households are either overweight or obese, reports the APOP 2009 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study, and the reasons our pets are packing on the pounds aren’t that different from the reasons their owners are. Just as we’re eating larger portions and more snacks than a generation ago, so are our pets. Because our lives are busier, we’re less likely to get the exercise we need–and less likely to take a long walk with our dogs or engage our cats with a ball of yarn.

More news and advice for happier, healthier pets.

It might seem that an extra pound or two on our four-legged companions isn’t so terrible. But that little bit can be a significant percentage of a pet’s total weight. For example, a Yorkie who tips the scales at “just” 12 pounds is equivalent to a 5-foot-4 woman who weighs 218 pounds.

Some owners disregard the health hazards associated with overweight pets and instead focus on how cute their plump cat or roly-poly puppy looks, says Nick Trout, DVM, a staff surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston and author of Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles. But overfeeding a fat cat or dog is basically loving it to death, says Dr. Trout. Overweight and obese pets not only have shorter life spans but also suffer from more medical problems during their lives, including back pain, arthritis, kidney disease, and diabetes–and they’re more expensive to care for as a result.

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, , , , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Rodale is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.


+ add your own
8:12PM PDT on May 26, 2011


10:03AM PDT on May 7, 2011

good advice

6:32AM PDT on May 3, 2011


5:39AM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

good advice

1:25PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011


1:00PM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

thanks for the info

7:42AM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

Just look at the ingredients in their food! And then, they are indulged out of feelings of guilt, and other emotional issues, instead of conscious choices made in the best interest of the animal.

11:34PM PDT on Apr 19, 2011

I have 1 overweight cat and I've tried everything to help him lose weight-hi protein, no-carb, human-grade controlled portion diet, putting his food upstairs, and laser lights. He acts like he's starving all the time, yawns at the laser light, and camps out upstairs between meal times!

10:54PM PDT on Apr 19, 2011

Thanks for info

10:05PM PDT on Apr 19, 2011

I have four cats, two are the correct weight, two are obese. What is my solution? If I put the tubby ones on a diet, the slender ones won't get enough to eat.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I am doing my very best - limiting meat and diary, processed foods etc., hope it's enough to help! …

Thank You for sharing:)

Thank you for the informative article.


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.