Pet Obesity in the U.S. 2015, Part 2

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The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has recently released the results of its latest annual pet obesity survey.  I had contacted APOP because their site did not provide much detail on this year’s survey.  Dr. Ernie Ward was kind enough to send over more detailed data, which I will be sharing in this post.


As I discussed last week, the APOP pet obesity survey indicated that American’s are not doing a very good job in keeping their pet’s weight at safe and healthy levels.   Overall, 53.8% of dogs are overweight or obese, the highest percentage since the APOP began the pet obesity survey.  Using this year’s numbers, I can estimate that in total, there are about 45 million fat dogs in the US.


Worse, the percentage of obese dogs rose to 20.2%, the highest levels since 2011 (which I believe was the first year of the survey), when obese dogs were estimated to make up 21.5% of the canine population.  The table below shows the survey results over the past five years.


Percent of all Dogs 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Overweight or obese 53.0% 52.5% 52.6% 52.7% 53.8%
 Overweight 31.5% 36.8% 35.9% 35.1% 33.6%
 Obese 21.5% 15.7% 16.7% 17.6% 20.2%


There is just no improvement in the data at all. American pet owners are completely failing in their responsibility to keep their pets healthy.  Fat dogs are more likely to experience shorter life spans, and a plethora of ailments and diseases including osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, many forms of cancer, and generally lower quality of life.


Another interesting piece of data that I found was about the age distribution of the survey respondent’s pets.  As shown in the table below, I calculated the percentage of each reported age group that was found to be overweight or obese.  To my surprise, the two youngest age groups showed the highest likelihood of being overweight.  One possible explanation for this is that overweight dogs will likely live shorter lives, and thus, they are not able to be part of the survey.


Age % of Dogs Overweight or Obese
1 to 6.9 56%
7 to 9.9 56%
10 to 11.9 54%
12 to 14.9 40%
15 + 47%
% of dogs for each age range that are overweight or obese


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  1. Really sad. Although not surprising. There are more overweight children now too. I remember when I went to school I could count on one hand the number of chubby kids. Now, it almost seems like thin children are the exception and not the rule.

  2. It makes me so upset to see an overweight or obese dog – or child for that matter – knowing the poor animal’s suffering from godonlyknows how many ailments. But I try to give the owner at least some credit for being concerned enough to be getting the dog some exercise. Sometimes there are medical reasons – like hypothyroidism – for the dog’s weight issue that a stranger couldn’t possibly know about.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…Wags and Waves for ForrestMy Profile

  3. I am glad neither of the boys is overweight anymore. They are so much healthier and happier now that we are more active and monitoring everything they eat.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…May Is National Microchip Your Pet MonthMy Profile

  4. If keeping your dogs weight where it should be helps to contribute to a healthier, happier and longer life for your pet – it’s a no brainer folks. So sad, because your pet relies on you! #justsaying
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…I MISS MY DOG – GRIEVING LOSSMy Profile

  5. This is so sad. People need to not only know the benefits of exercise and eating right but put them in practice!!
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  6. That is really disheartening. I thought people were so much more aware of this issue now. But I guess being aware and doing something about it are not necessarily the same thing.
    Jan K recently posted…My Sweet BoyMy Profile

  7. Those figures are indeed staggering if not surprising. *sigh* They seem to parallel human obesity rates. Guess the “eat less, move more” mantra should apply to our pups too.

  8. All of it is really depressing, but I had no idea that it started so young either. I’ve never seen those age statistics before. It’s so sad because our dogs depend on us to make these decisions for them, and in the end we’re hurting them by providing them with treats & food in excess…
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…Can You Get Poison Ivy From Your Dog?My Profile

  9. Too many fat animals kinda like too many fat humans.
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