PET HEALTH NEWS
Pet Obesity Increases in the U.S
Pet obesity in the U.S. increased in 2017, affecting 60 percent
of cats and 56 percent of dogs, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). APOP’s survey revealed opinions of pet owners and veterinary professionals
on several pet food issues, whether pet food has improved
and the best sources of pet dietary recommendations.
“We’re continuing to see more pets diagnosed with
obesity rather than overweight,” said veterinarian and
APOP founder Dr. Ernie
Ward. “Clinical obesity results
in more secondary conditions
such as arthritis, high blood
pressure, kidney disease and
certain forms of cancer. Pets
with obesity also have reduced
quality of life and shorter life
In the October 2017 clinical
survey, 56 percent of dogs and
60 percent of cats were classi-
fied as overweight (body con-
dition score [BCS] 6-7) or obese
(BCS 8-9) by their veterinary
healthcare professional. These
results indicate an estimat-
ed 50.2 million dogs and 56. 5
million cats are above healthy
weight, based on 2017 pet pop-
ulation projections provided
by the American Pet Products
Association (APPA). In 2016,
APOP found 54 percent of dogs
and 59 percent of cats were
overweight or obese in the U.S.
Pet owners and veterinary
professionals were questioned
about pet obesity, diet and
nutrition, and sources of pet
food advice. The survey found
58 percent of pet owners and
54 percent of veterinary professionals reported they had
tried to help their own pet
lose weight. Low-calorie and
weight-loss diets combined
with increased exercise were
the most cited weight-loss
When asked what was the
“biggest challenge to exercising
dogs,” “too busy” was the most
common response, topping the
list of 25 percent of all pet owners and 43 percent of veterinary
professionals. Behavior issues
( 21 percent of pet owners and
19 percent of veterinary professionals), inadequate access
to exercise areas, and physical
limitations of the owner and
pet completed the top four reported challenges.
Nearly half ( 48 percent) of
pet owners stated that their
veterinarian failed to rec-
ommend a maintenance or
routine diet for their pet, and
15 percent commented that
they “had to ask” to receive a
pet food recommendation. Half of surveyed veterinary
professionals replied they offered maintenance pet food
When asked if they believed “commercial pet food is
better or worse than 10 years ago” (the melamine pet food
recall was in 2007), 63 percent of pet owners and 76 per-
cent of veterinary professionals reported pet food in 2017
was “better.” S H U
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