40 Percent Of American Cats And Dogs Are Overweight

Last February we reported that 21 percent of American pets are obese, but it seems that the numbers are quite a bit larger: according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an enormous 40 percent of all dogs and cats in America are overweight.

That’s right: it’s bad enough that around 30 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese, but now their pets are suffering from weight issues too.

Obesity is one of the most common preventable health problems in pets, so why is this happening?

While veterinarians are increasingly aware of this problem, a survey done by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) shows that pet owners don’t even realize that their pets are overweight.

“22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of APOP. “This is what I refer to as the “fat pet gap” or the normalization of obesity by pet parents. In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.”

Pet obesity may in fact be largely due to the ignorance of pet owners, so what can they do to keep their pets trim and healthy?

One Green Planet has a few suggestions:

Read Food Labels to look for brands that use healthy ingredients.

Exercise With Your Pet, since pets as well as humans need exercise to stimulate their senses, keep their bodies healthy, and create a healthy outlet to get rid of stress; plus it will strengthen the owner-pet bond.

Restrict Food Intake: Most pets know when to stop, but if  your pet seems to overeat, cut back on the amount you give him or split his meals throughout the day to keep him full.

Monitor her weight, especially if your vet has expressed concern with your pet’s health; if you’re doing all of the above and your pet is still gaining weight, it could be due to underlying health issues, so check in with your vet to make sure everything’s normal.

Let’s be sure to get the best care for the animals we love!

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Photo Credit: Ian & Julia


Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

People should love their pets in a more appropriate way

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

so many people give table scraps. however, we have an outdoor dog who gets primarily table scraps and leftovers and he is healthy, muscular and lean. exercise plays a role, as does the breed of the dog. if you see that your pet is getting overweight, nip it in the bud.

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton5 years ago

My vet who I love to pieces made me feed my pug cold carrots, they are sweet, they love them .Her mother was 50lbs & she is 25lbs. It is too much for their hips and joints. Try it!! ( :

Darla G.
Darla G5 years ago

My dogs are both of normal weight (wish I could say the same for myself). My older Lab has minor hip dysplasia and extra weight would be extremely detrimental to his health.

There's no way I can "free feed" my dogs. They would eat until they passed out. They get fed in the morning and at night. They get very few dog treats and even less people food.

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Watch the treats! And exercise!

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

mercedes g.
mercedes Gallego5 years ago

The remorse and guilt people usually feel if their pet aquires medical issues or suffers an early death related to obesity is mostly avoidable. Love your pets with some discipline as well.

Alex H.
Alex H5 years ago

Isn't it sad?First humans get obese on processed "food"saturated with fats and sugar,then they feed the same sort of rubbish to their pets!The fact that vets sell processed dog and cat food is a gross conflict of interest,and designed in my opinion,to make sure these animals keep coming back,to make more money for the vets!?Add to that annual vaccinations which scientific research has proven,in the USA,at least five years ago,to be not necessary and in fact shortening the lives of dogs and cats,and you have a situation of criminal treatment of these animals which are totally dependant on whoever owns them,and what ever those people decide to feed them,usually the cheapest canned rubbish on the shelf.It is a proven fact that cats and dogs do best on RAW food!! When I read about the "rendering"plants in the USA,boiling down dead animals,out of date packs of food from supermarkets including the plastic wrap and other disgusting stuff,into a gray sludge which is then added to canned dog food as a filler,I FELT SICK!!!No wonder dogs and cats are ill with enlarged hearts and livers!Extra exercise for an animal with these problems will probably kill it!

Demian v.
Wendy V5 years ago

If your pets are fat then you are not getting enough exercise... Seems to be a problem all over America... End of the day the fatter you are getting the greater your burden on society, the longer you leave dealing with being fat the more the problem compunds... You don't just wake up one morning and realise you've picked up 50 kilo's... lol. Being fat is more than just eating to much, it's a measure of character, it takes effort to exercise, effort to eat properly, effort to take recognisance of your health... Surely this all points to the majority of Americans just being too lazy? The worst part of all is lazy parents raise lazy children who in turn become lazy parents and so on... It takes effort to get off the couch and move away from the greatest propaganda machine on this planet, the TV... Come on Americans start setting the example you claim to be!!!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

It is happening because people feed their animals food that humans eat, with all the sugar, salt, fat and other garbage in it. It is not cute to see dogs or cats beg for food and I can't stand it when I see these fools think it's adorable that their 4-legged companion begs for the potato chips, cookies, etc.

I have never fed my companions human food and they all live longer than the expected amount of years. People need to stop treating their animals as pet toys and more like members of their family; if they do they might think about what they are feeding them.