Nutrition Weight Control — 15 March 2013
Pet Obesity Survey! Surprising Finds And Fascinating Facts

It feels like every day is  National Pet Obesity Awareness Day to us. Officially, though, we’re pretty sure it’s still in October. We don’t mind getting information out on this important topic, though, and we’re very intrigued by the latest news from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. They’ve announced the results of what they’re calling the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey–but we think they mean that they began the survey last October.

The survey took data from 121 veterinary clinics in 36 states, covering 1,485 dogs and 450 cats. The APOP is also very specific about sexing those pets–and addressing the very important topic of how neutered pets. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Cats: 4.4% male, 49.6% male neutered, 6.2% female, 39.8% female spayed
  • Dogs: 8.4% male, 39.1% male neutered, 6.0% female, 46.5% female spayed
  • Median age of surveyed pets: Dogs – 6 years of age, Cats – 6 years of age

Working from there, here are just a few of the report’s fascinating and frightening facts:

  • Based on 2012 survey results and 2012 American Veterinary Medical Association data, 80 million U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese.
  • Based on 2012 survey results and 2012 American Veterinary Medical Association data:
    • An estimated 43.2 million cats or 58.3% are overweight or obese (74.1 million U.S. pet cats, 2012 AVMA)
      • 29.3 million cats BCS 4 – Overweight
      • 13.9 million cats BCS 5 – Obese
    • An estimated 36.7 million dogs or 52.5% are overweight or obese (70 million U.S. pet dogs, 2012 AVMA)
      • 25.7 million dogs BCS 4 – Overweight
      • 11 million dogs BCS 5 – Obese
  • Labrador retrievers were the most common pure breed in the study (141/1485, 9.5% total surveyed)
    • 58.9% were classified as overweight or obese
    • 42.6% – Overweight
    • 16.3% – Obese
  • German shepherds had the lowest reported pure breed Obesity (BCS 5) rate of 2.1%
  • 45.8% of dog owners incorrectly identified their overweight or obese dogs as “normal weight” when asked by their veterinary clinic to assess their pet’s current body condition (pet owner’s choices were too thin, normal, overweight, obese)
  • 45.3% of cat owners incorrectly identified their overweight or obese cats as “normal weight” when asked by their veterinary clinic to assess their pet’s current body condition (pet owner’s choices were too thin, normal, overweight, obese)

We’re having a hard time imagining how a Labrador retriever gets obese–but that’s why these surveys are important. They challenge our assumptions about our own pets. There’s a lot more to learn at the APOP website, including more surprising news about dog breeds. Now we’re going to go check out the size of the cup that we’re using to fill up the bowls with dry pet food….

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Great Pet Health

The Great Pet is dedicated to health and safety for all of our animal companions--in addition to celebrating their safety, their overall adorableness, and the occasional brilliant clumsiness.

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