U.S. Pet Obesity Statistics, 2012-2014

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Dr. Ernie Ward and The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) recently released the results of the 2014 pet obesity survey. The study, conducted in the fall of 2014, continues to show that Americans are over feeding their pets. By a lot.

Overweight or obese dogs make up 52.7% of all dogs in the U.S. It is even worse for cats, with 57.9 % of cats being reported as fat.


Pet Obesity Statistics over the past three years


We compiled the data from the past three years and as you can see, there has been no improvement over time. Sadly, the percentage of obese dogs and cats has increased in each of the past two years.


The sheer number of fat pets is pretty astounding. APOP estimates a total of 43.9 million overweight or obese dogs, 14.7 million of which are classified as obese (30% or more overweight). For cats, the total number of overweight or obese totals 55.4 million, 26.9 million of which are obese (Note: It appears that the APOP site reported the 2013 numbers for obese and overweight dogs & cats on their 2014 survey page. We have calculated the correct numbers).

Pet Obesity- Dogs


Pet Obesity- Cats

The Dog and Cat Fat Gap

One of the most disheartening statistics from the survey continues to be the “fat gap”. According to APOP, the fat gap is the number of pet parents who incorrectly think their pet is at a normal weight, even though their pet is, in fact, overweight. In 2014, the percentage of dog owners thinking their fat dog was at a normal weight was 95%, amazingly, an increase from 2013’s 93%. Similarly, the fat gap has grown for cats, from 88% in 2013 to 90% in 2014. With numbers like these, there is little hope that the pet obesity problem will be resolved in the near term. After all, the fat gap statistics demonstrate that pet owners don’t think there is a problem, and therefore, there is nothing to fix.


Pet owners who do not think their overweight pet is fat.    
APOP Fat Gap 2013 2014
Dogs 93% 95%
Cats 88% 90%


It is pretty hard to imagine just how these awful statistics obtained, given all of the press on pet obesity and the number of sites that are writing about this topic (including our own efforts here at SlimDoggy to educate pet owners on the health and financial costs of having an overweight pet). I truly hope that the survey results are skewed (for whatever reasons) and don’t reflect the actual situation.

What do you think? Do you believe that the APOP survey is an accurate reflection of pet ownership in the U.S.?

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  1. I hope too the results are a skewed those are some really high numbers. Now that I know Nellie is ok, we are getting back on that exercise gig, she can’t stay fat.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Great News~Nellie’s UltrasoundMy Profile

  2. I have written about the fat gap before as well, and it truly is disheartening. Unfortunately, I have come across many overweight dogs & cats, a few being extremely obese, in my recent years as a dog walker & pet sitter. Most owners indeed do not see anything wrong with their pets’ extra pounds, and consider them “extra dog/cat to be loved on”. Hugh sigh.

    That being said, I have certainly also cared for dogs in tip-top shape, with a nice waistline & athletic bodies. Those pups usually have active owners who take them on daily walks, hikes, swimming adventures, and some compete in K9 sports such as agility. Just this past weekend, I met a new client pup (a 2 year old, black Boxer) with a perfect body condition. It was such a joy to see him sporting his waistline & athletic body. Such a beauty! It’s really a shame that those fit pups do not make up the majority of my clients 🙁
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Dr. Harvey’s Power Patties ~ Scrumptious Tripe Treats!My Profile

  3. it\\\’s sad to see this statistics…. and it\\\’s hard to read that so much pet owners are not able to see a problem ( I remember the big lab at crufts). I wonder what their vets say when they come for their annual check ups…

  4. The statistics on this is so crazy!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Family Fun – Sibe StyleMy Profile

  5. We think the biggest problem with obesity in pets and humans is it has become the norm to be overweight or even obese. We heard good news yesterday. MN has maintained an obesity rate of 26% since 2010 while the neighboring states are now at 29-31%. 26% is still way too high, but it isn’t increasing. People’s habits and lifestyles transfer to their pets which is why fat pets are becoming the norm as well. We don’t like it at all!
    Emma recently posted…The Secret To #PerfectWeight Is ConsistencyMy Profile

    • WE agree 100% Emma. Congrats to MN…must be all that shivering from the cold 😉
      mkob recently posted…U.S. Pet Obesity Statistics, 2012-2014My Profile

      • The body does burn more calories staying warm 🙂 We are a very active state, always make those best places to bike, run, etc lists. I think it is all the Scandinavian heritage for hard work and exercise that help us out. Where else do you find tons of people biking to work in a snowstorm or -20 weather? We are nuts, but healthy nuts.
        Emma recently posted…The Secret To #PerfectWeight Is ConsistencyMy Profile

  6. I think public education on the issue is only just getting off the ground. I grew up with dogs and had no clue of what all the proper cues for a pup’s healthy weight. It wasn’t until I got Eko that I learned about all the structural points to check. Hopefully with continued efforts this info can disseminate to more people and help reverse the trend.

  7. Holy Cow! We hope those stats are incorrect! Our vet is very open about talking about weight and how important it is to manage and keep our eye on it. Miley has lost 4 pounds over the last 2 months and we can’t believe the change we have seen in her, not only physically but mentally. Such an important topic, glad we are speaking about it!
    Golden Daily Scoop recently posted…National Pet ID Week and a Giveaway #PSPIDWeekMy Profile

  8. Good topic and those stats are shocking. Buddy is down from 82 pounds to 78 and that is where they would like him to stay. Those 4 pounds really make a difference!
    Buddy recently posted…Hello out there!My Profile

  9. This seems accurate to me. I see more overweight pets – even while hiking – than I used to. It’s actually a novelty to see a trim, normal-weight dog these days!

    I don’t think I will ever forget the first foster dog I had. She was a lab mix and about 20 pounds overweight. I walked her twice a day, limited her treats, fed her a little less than the recommended amount and over the course of about 8 months – she lost all of that weight and looked amazing. And then, when I returned her to the rescue, she gained it all, plus some more, back. It was really disheartening. I know that the exercise played a big part in it – but I also was careful about how much food she ate. Back at the rescue, they would keep some of their dogs at a local kennel and the kennel staff would just fill up the dog food bowls to the top and leave them in the kennels all day. It’s a no brainer that that sort of feeding would lead to weight gain.

    • Absolutely. When we got Jack from the rescue he was a good 25lbs overweight too. They had posted a picture of him from when they got him (about a year earlier) and he was this gorgeous albiet a little thin Lab…I was shocked when I saw him in person. So sad. He must have put on 30-35 lbs while there.
      mkob recently posted…U.S. Pet Obesity Statistics, 2012-2014My Profile

  10. Tis sad indeed. Often times, you can look at an owner and without even seeing the dog, know the pup will be overweight. Sigh. Sam is pretty lithe so my question is what the heck happened to me because we go on the same walks. Oh yeah, there is that chocolate thing in between walks. 😉
    Monika recently posted…Velcro DogMy Profile

  11. So many of us have gotten used to obesity in both pets and humans it’s become the norm. I can’t tell you how many people comment on Harley being “so thin” when he’s had his summer cut. They tell me all the time that I need to “feed that dog” He’s maintained his weight for years, and is healthier in the long run for it. Great post! PS: Gave you a shout out on the Doodle post this morning 🙂

    • It’s so unfortunate that heavy dogs = loved dogs…just not true. Thanks for the shout out.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy | Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  12. This is so sad. I just wish everyone could know the benefits of exercise and consistency with diet/treats. I know that fewer dogs would be surrendered and fewer adults would be obese as well if we all exercised a bit more!
    MyDogLikes recently posted…A Primal Freeze Dried Raw Frenzy!My Profile

  13. Wow, that Fat Gap analysis is awful! I’m a bit surprised, but I also think pet weight is a highly emotional thing for some owners, just as human weight carries a lot of emotion with it. I wonder if a lot of people w/ overweight pets are overweight themselves and are sharing poor eating habits with pets. Thanks for sharing this eye opening analysis.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
    Cathy Armato recently posted…Why Animal Cruelty Hurts EveryoneMy Profile

  14. It is very sad. It’s mirroring what’s happening to people. And people also tend to think that they’re a normal weight when they’re not.

    I have an amazing number of people tell me that my dogs are too thin, which is not true.
    KB recently posted…The Black Cracker Dog UpdateMy Profile

  15. Those are very disheartening statistics. Even if they are off by some, they are still really bad. I’ve seen it in my own family. I’ve seen my own sister look at her overweight beagle with surprise when I said she needed to lose weight! However, the good news is that I finally did get through to her, and both of her dogs have lost weight (one was so overweight she couldn’t deny that, and has arthritis). Some people just can’t see what we see when looking at an animal. But I hope my sister is an example that they can learn…we just have to keep beating it into their heads (so to speak, even though sometimes we’d like to do it literally…LOL).
    Now I need to work more on my other sister and her cat!!
    Jan K recently posted…Happy Earth Day – #52SnapshotsMy Profile

    • Good job on your sister. I think you’re right, we just have to whittle away at people. Good luck with your other sister. Feline Obesity is even worse!
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy | Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

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