Obesity is not only an epidemic in humans, but also approximately half of America’s dogs and cats are overweight. According to Ernie Ward, DVM, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 44 percent of dogs are overweight and 10 percent are clinically obese. The results are even more startling when looking at felines, as 57 percent of cats were overweight, including 17 percent who are obese. The results come from a statistical study of 870 animals from 95 vet clinics across the United States.
Ward, who practices in Calabash, N.C., said the population was representative of the entire veterinary patient population, which is two-thirds dogs and one-third cats. In the study, they compared the weight of the focus group pets to ideal ranges. This is the most comprehensive and conclusive study of the pet obesity problem in this country to date.
Ward said many veterinarians have been hesitant to bring up obesity, because they do not want to offend the pet owners. Also, many “chubby” animals are considered cute, and the problem is not perceived as serious or threatening. He said his research, however, indicates that clients are looking for help for their overweight pets, which is a good sign that the trend could reverse. For more information on pet obesity visit the website for the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention at http://www.petobesityprevention.org/