Pet Obesity in the U.S. 2015

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The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has recently released the results of its latest annual pet obesity survey.  Unfortunately for dogs (and cats) in the U.S., the news is not good.


According to APOP, in the U.S., 58% of all cats and 54% of all dogs are overweight or obese.  For dogs, this is an increase from last year’s survey, which reported that 52.7% of U.S. dogs were overweight or obese.  In aggregate, this means that there are somewhere near 45 million fat dogs in this country.  That is a lot of chubby puppies, many of which will experience health problems.


In the APOP press release discussing this year’s survey, Dr. Joe Barges, Academic Director for Cornell University Veterinary Specialists and APOP Board member says that “The reality is, obesity kills.” “Numerous studies have linked obesity with type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, many forms of cancer and decreased life expectancy.”


And as I have written about in the past, the cost is not just life expectancy and quality of life.  Those 45 million fat dogs will cost their owners a lot of money, both in terms of veterinarian bills and medicines, and in extra food from over feeding.  My back of the envelope calculation implies that the total cost to the owners of these overweight dogs in in excess of $8 billion annually.  Treatment costs for obesity related illness can easily surpass $1,000 per year, depending on the condition.  This is money that could be spent elsewhere in many cases, if the dog was exercised regularly and fed properly.


Unlike in prior years, APOP has not published the details associated with this year’s survey. Typically, they will break out obese (30% overweight or more) and overweight (less than 30% overweight) percentages, and other interesting statistics.  I have contacted APOP and requested this information so that I can update and compare these results to prior years.  I will publish my analysis of the detailed data as soon as I receive it from APOP.


In the meantime, it is a shame that the trend is an increasing percentage of pets are fat.  One would think that with the recent public discussions about the dangers of pet obesity, that we would see an improvement in these obesity rates, not a deterioration.  We should be able to do better.


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  1. It always makes me sad to read that so much pets aren’t in good shape … the most pet-owners fear the day they will lose their bestest friend… and with ignoring obesive pets this day mostly comes earlier than expected… and that’s one of the reasons I watch Easy’s weight…
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog THIS MOMENT…My Profile

  2. That is depressing! It’s really not that hard to keep pets fit, if one just tries! A fit pet usually means a more fit person as well! Pretty soon the new Friday Hop will be Fat Friday.
    Emma recently posted…My First NW3 Trial – What’s The Big Deal?My Profile

  3. I don’t know if this is just in my area, but I notice that the fattest dogs often have owners that will pick up after them, but the thinner dogs tend to have owners that just leave their droppings where they land. I would rather see that than a fat dog struggling on a warm day just to make it around the block! I think it is great they are walking their dog – but nutrition is important too for weight loss.

  4. It is so sad when pets are obese because they can not control it. Everyone needs good food and to move!!

  5. That is a very sad trend. If only people would realize that prevention is fairly easy- for both them AND their pets. Just get out together and exercise. Even if it “just” means going for daily walks and cutting back on highly processed treats.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Why I Treat My Dogs With Freeze-Dried Vital Essentials Minnows [And You Should, Too]My Profile

  6. I actually thought it was higher than that to begin with.
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  7. Ugh, I was really hoping these obesity figures would decrease instead of increasing. It’s easy not to notice a few extra pounds creeping up on a larger dog (that happened with Haley for a while) but I’ve seen some really obese dogs lately that struggle while even walking short distances and I feel so bad for them.

    I’ve read that some vets are reluctant to mention weight issues to pet owners for fear of offending them, but maybe they should be more proactive about addressing the medical risks and expenses involved with obese pets.

    Thanks for all you do to promote our pet’s healthy weight and nutrition!
    Elaine recently posted…Why You Should Celebrate National Pet Month!My Profile

  8. This is such sad, depressing news! I know Callie and Shadow were a little overweight several years ago. I cut back on their treats and increased our exercise a little at a time, and they were soon back to a healthy weight. Whether or not the extra weight contributed to Callie’s lymphoma, I don’t know – cancer is such an insidious disease – but I am now hyper-vigilant about Shadow’s and Ducky’s overall health and well-being. Our poor vet probably thinks “oh no, not again” when I make an appointment for Shadow. Just kidding. He loves my girls and is always happy to see them; but I just want to save Shadow and Ducky from the same fate that befell their older sister.
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  9. It’s heartbreaking to see overweight pets especially when accompanied by overweight ‘pawrents.’ Both would benefit from eating less and moving more. 😉

  10. When over eating becomes a comfort and hobby for the human, one must believe it’s a way to show love to a pet. My heart breaks for the pet (especially) because he cannot stop it nor can he change on his own. I wonder just how long we will see these trends continue to increase. Super sad.
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