Rover, we have a problem…pet obesity

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dog on scaleWhether we care to admit it or not, there is a good chance that we own or know people who own an overweight or obese dog.  At SlimDoggy, one of our goals is to raise awareness about this issue while providing tools and information to people who would like to address their dogs weight problem.  Today we start a series on the dog obesity/weight problem by providing some facts and figures on the canine weight problem we have in the U.S., and provide a look at the cost to dog owners who have overweight pets.

Rover We Have a Problem

I am sure that many of you have heard the statistics on the dog weight/obesity problem we have in the U.S..  Still, I believe it is worth sharing some of the key numbers.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s latest survey:

– 41.1 million dogs, or a whopping 53 % of all adult dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese

– 24.4 million (31.2%) are overweight

– 16.7 million (21.4%) are obese

– 22 percent of dog owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese. We call this the “I am in denial” stat.

– the number of obese pets, defined as those at least 30 percent above normal weight or a body condition score (BCS) of 5, continues to grow despite 93.4 percent of surveyed pet owners identifying pet obesity as a problem. We call this the “I don’t know how to solve the problem” stat.


Just like it is with people, being overweight leads to many serious health problems for dogs including:

– osteoarthritis

– type 2 diabetes

– high blood pressure

– breathing problems

– kidney disease

shortened life expectancy

– behavioral problems due to lack of exercise


The cost of this problem is staggering!  As we all know,  pet health care can be costly:

– Orthopedic surgeries can cost over $500 + per procedure

– Vet visits for illness and diagnostics can cost $50-$250 per visit

– Medications to control pain, blood pressure, insulin levels, etc. can cost $10-$25 per month

In total, we estimate that the aggregate cost to dog owners to medically care for (e.g. vet visits, meds, surgeries, etc.) their overweight dogs can run as much as $6-8 billion dollars per year.    Wow!  For context, a stack of 1 billion $1 dollar bills would measure measures 358,510 feet or 67.9 miles.  In our case, 8 billion would represent be a ~ 540 mile long stack of bills to cover the annual additional healthcare costs associated with our overweight dogs.

In our next post, we will discuss how to determine if your dog needs to lose weight and some reasons why this happened in the first place, and also provide some tips on how to get started on a weight management program for your dog.


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  1. Roxy is 7 1/2 lbs, but a year ago was up around 8 lbs. That doesn’t seem like much, but on a tiny dog it is. I switched her food and she now fells like a million bucks being a slim doggy.
    Roxy the traveling dog recently posted…A boring weekendMy Profile

    • You are so right- 1/2 lb is significant for a small dog like Roxy. To put it into perspective, it is about 7% of her body weight, or 7 lbs. for a 100 lb dog and 10 lbs for a 150 pound human.

      What food did you switch from and what food do you use know?

  2. So many people just think it’s cute that their pets have some chub. Some people get really offended when you tell them their dog is overweight too lol.
    Ann “Paws” Staub recently posted…Brachiocephalic Cat Breeds and Their Common Health ProblemsMy Profile

    • I know Ann. It’s nothing personal. A fit dog is a healthier dog and will live longer. Why would anyone take offense to such a message?!
      All we can do is keep talking about it and hope that some folks get inspired to get their dog and perhaps, themselves, into better shape.

  3. those numbers are STAGGERING!!!
    these people are killing their dogs and just refuse to acknowledge it….ridiculous
    KD Mathews recently posted…I finally found a dog who Lies!!!!!My Profile

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