Obesity is one of the most common health problems of the modern age. Besides humans, pets are also getting more and more overweight and obese. If you’re not aware of just how serious the situation is, this article is for you. We’ve prepared the top pet obesity statistics that’ll shock you, so let’s go.

Top 10 Pet Obesity Stats and Facts for 2022

General Pet Obesity Facts and Stats

Do you have a pet? Do you know what their ideal weight is? Most owners don’t. If you’d like to learn more, here are some interesting facts about pet obesity.

1. Pets that have over 20% more than their ideal weight are considered obese.

(Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, VCA Animal Hospitals)

However, there are some experts that consider pets with above 30% more than the ideal weight to be obese. So, until there’s a consensus, the diagnosis depends on the vet.  

Overweight pets, on the other hand, are those with over 10% more pounds than what they should normally have.

2. Pet obesity prevalence is higher than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Hills Pet Nutrition)

In a recent survey, among the owners of obese pets, 30% admitted that their pets became obese during the pandemic.

And 71% of vets interviewed have found that the pandemic has definitely changed our pet-feeding habits. Moreover, 49% of surveyed pet owners admit that maintaining their pets’ weight is more difficult during the pandemic.

In general, pets are less active, leading to more instances of registered pet obesity in 2022.

3. Overfeeding and lack of physical activity are the main causes of pet obesity.

(WebMD)

Most owners overestimate how much food their pets actually need. If the pet is physically inactive, high-calorie food and treats in between meals will only be harmful.

For pet obesity prevention, pet owners should consult their vets to see how much food their pet should have every day.

Genetics can also be an important factor, since some obesity markers can be hereditary. Plus, not all animals/breeds are equally prone to obesity.

4. Overweight owners are more likely to have obese pets.

(Science Direct)

Owners are likely to share their habits with their pets. So, if they tend to overeat, they are more likely to overfeed their pets too. This correlation is more evident in dog owners than in cat owners.

The problem also occurs because inactive pet owners also don’t exercise their dogs as often as they should, feed them less frequently but in larger portions, and give them more snacks while the pet is resting.

However, the numbers come from smaller sample studies, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

5. Every second Wednesday of October is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.

(Days of the Year)

On this day, there are many different events helping spread awareness about this dangerous condition. Often, veterinarians participate as well. They examine the pets and offer nutritional advice free of charge.

6. Only 51% of pet owners are able to recognize if their pet is overweight.

(Purina)

The study was conducted on 3,399 dogs across five countries. Of all the owners, 49% were unable to make a difference between ideal weight and extra weight.

The same study has also found that 33% of owners identified their dogs’ weight as ideal, but it turned out that their pets were overweight or obese. 

One of the main reasons for this might be the fact that most dogs presented on TV and social networks are actually overweight.

Dog Obesity Facts and Stats

It’s hard to say no to your pet when they look at you with those puppy eyes. However, if you look at the causes and consequences of dog obesity, you’ll understand the importance of not overfeeding your dog.

7. 30% of all dogs in the US are obese.

(VCA Animal Hospitals)

US dog obesity statistics also show that close to 45% of dogs between the ages of 5 and 11 are overweight. If we also exclude underweight dogs, that means that a lot less than 50% of US dogs have a healthy weight.

8. A small-scale study shows that dogs eating leftovers are more likely to be overweight.

(NCBI)

Processed food is generally not great for dogs, and it can do them more harm than good. This is especially true if processed food is given in addition to their regular meals. 

On the other hand, raw food doesn’t produce the same effect in dogs, and they can actually benefit from it. You just have to pay attention and choose food that’s not toxic to dogs.

9. Healthy dogs should have an hourglass-shaped body.

(Association for Pet Obesity Prevention)

If the dog is overweight, it’ll look more round when you look at them from above. An ideal dog body should include a slightly tucked stomach, ribs that can’t be seen but can easily be felt, and a clearly visible waist.

10. Dogs will eat 88% more if served a larger portion.

(Science Direct, PetMD)

A study found that this happens if dogs get 300% of their normal meals. So, when served more than they need, they’re likely to overeat. As mentioned, obesity is directly related to eating too much. 

A vet can help you avoid this and determine the perfect portion size for your dog. 

11. Pugs are one of the dog breeds most likely to be obese.

(Wiley Online Library)

And this obesity is highly dangerous for them. Obesity in pugs can worsen their brachycephaly and make their breathing even more difficult.

Besides Pugs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers, and English Springer Spaniels are also predisposed to becoming obese.

12. 52% of dogs with osteoarthritis are overweight.

(Banfield Pet Hospital)

Obesity significantly increases the chances of a dog getting osteoarthritis. And, since osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, being overweight can only make the condition worse. 

If a pet loses weight, the condition can significantly improve. The pain can get easier to manage, and the progression of the illness can be slowed down.

13. Obesity can increase the risk of developing cancer.

(American Kennel Club)

Besides cancer, there are many other diseases that are caused by obesity in dogs. They can get diabetes, develop heart disease, and have high blood pressure. 

Other problems, like bladder stones and lower heat tolerance, are also possible.

14. Overweight dogs have a shorter lifespan.

(Wiley Online Library)

This is one of the most common overweight dog problems

For example, an overweight Yorkie lives only 13.7 years, while the normal average for the breed is 16.2 years. For some breeds, though, like the German Shepherd, the difference is only a few months. 

Still, these are precious months and years lost only because of obesity.

Cat Obesity Facts and Statistics

Cat obesity stats are just as concerning. If you have a pet cat, keep reading to learn more about how obesity looks in cats.

15. 33.8% of US cats are obese, as revealed by statistics on cat obesity.

(Statista)

According to the same stats for 2018, 25.7% were reported to be simply overweight. When these two are combined, we can see that 59.5% of all cats in the US had a weight problem. 

And only 38.5% had a normal weight.  

16. Indoor cats are more likely to become overweight.

(NCBI)

Obesity of in-home pets is generally more common, and cats are no exception. Free-roaming cats are more stimulated, more active, and less likely to eat out of boredom. However, they live much shorter lives.

If they live in a multi-cat household, they are also less anxious. Anxious pets eat more, which can lead to obesity.

17. Dry food can increase the risk of obesity in cats.

(MDPI, Veterinary Practice News)

One of the reasons for this is the fact that dry food is usually more caloric and richer in carbs. Moreover, packages can sometimes be misleading and suggest larger serving sizes than necessary. 

Canned cat food in gravy is recommended for preventing obesity since it provides cats with additional moisture, and it is harder to go wrong with it. 

However, these are just some of the factors. Portion sizes, frequency of feeding, type of food, and cat activity levels all play a role.

18. There has been a 114% increase in obese or overweight cats in the last ten years, according to pet obesity statistics for 2020.

(Banfield Pet Hospital)

Banfield Hospital pet obesity research found that in 2011, they diagnosed only 18% of cats with obesity. In 2020, that number grew to 38%, which is a more than 100% increase in less than a decade.

That being said, it’s safe to assume that a greater part of that percent has happened during the pandemic period. As mentioned, pet owners have found it more challenging to maintain their pets’ weight.

FAQ

What are the symptoms of obesity in dogs?

The main symptom is extra fat layers. Obese dogs have no waist, and their belly is at the same level as their chest. They also often have extra layers of fat on top of their hips.

Some behavioral symptoms are a lack of will to exercise, trouble walking, and inability to breathe normally. 

(American Kennel Club)

How is obesity in dogs treated?

Dog obesity is treated through diet and exercise. To end pet obesity, pet owners should consult vets and see how much food and exercise their pets need.

What pet owners can do on their own is start exercising more with their dogs and slowly reduce the amount of treats they give to their pets.

(PetMD)

Is pet obesity an epidemic?

Pet obesity is definitely starting to be an epidemic. 

There are more pets than ever that are at least overweight. Some studies suggest that as much as 51% of pets are overweight. And less than 10% of those diagnosed pets manage to lose weight in the long run.

(Banfield Pet Hospital)

How common is cat obesity?

Cat obesity is more common than you would think. According to stats from 2018, a staggering 33.8% of cats are obese. And the numbers are expected to rise, since 25.7% are already overweight. 

(Statista)

What does obesity do to cats?

Obesity is the primary cause of diabetes in cats. But, there are many other cat obesity problems. 

Cats with obesity have problems with their joints, breathing, steatosis (fatty liver), urinary tract, and bladder. Moreover, they can also get heart problems, which prevent them from living normally.

(Heene Road Vets)

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve looked at our pet obesity statistics, we hope you’ve realized just how serious the problem is.

With more than half of all pets overweight, pet obesity is a serious epidemic. Obesity can cause their health to get worse and even shorten their lives.

With all that in mind, every pet owner should put effort into preventing their pet from becoming overweight. 

Sources:                

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