You searched for
obesity

US Pet Obesity Grows; Veterinarians Call for Standardization of Obesity Scale

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention Confirms a Rise of Obese Pets in 2015, sparking the need for industry change

Calabash, N.C.—March 15, 2016—Pet obesity continues to be a growing problem, affecting the majority of US dogs and cats. Research conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that approximately 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs were overweight or obese in 2015. Veterinarians are alarmed by the steady increase in pets classified as clinically obese. They are calling upon the veterinary industry to clearly define and classify pet obesity as a disease and adopt a universal Body Condition Score (BCS) scale for assessing pet obesity.

“The American Medical Association (AMA) recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. I think the time has come for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to follow suit,” stresses Dr. Ernie Ward of Ocean Isle, North Carolina, founder of APOP. “By defining obesity as a disease, many veterinarians will take the condition more seriously and be compelled to act rather than ignore this serious health threat.”

APOP also points out a lack of consensus surrounding the definition of obesity. The organization defines clinical pet obesity as 30 percent above ideal weight, but that definition varies among veterinary practitioners, industry stakeholders and pet owners. “Our profession hasn’t agreed on what separates ‘obese’ from ‘overweight,’” University of Georgia veterinary surgeon and APOP Board member Dr. Steve Budsberg states, “These words have significant clinical meaning and affect treatment recommendations.”

The lack of professional consensus in defining pet obesity has created confusion among industry leaders. This confusion can lead to underreporting and a decreased emphasis on the pet obesity issue by the veterinary industry and clients. A uniform definition of pet obesity would benefit veterinarians who are struggling to find a tactful and effective way to discuss obesity and the importance of weight loss. It will also create an increase in awareness and discussion around the issue for both veterinarians and pet owners.

Due to these growing problems, Dr. Ward challenges the veterinary profession to standardize medical terminology and tools for obesity. “APOP is committed to uniting veterinarians with a single set of pet obesity definitions and tools. We are working toward a common professional standard Body Condition Score (BCS) with European colleagues and universal definitions for overweight and obese.”

“There are currently three major BCS scales used worldwide,” emphasizes University of Minnesota veterinary nutritionist and APOP Board member, Dr. Julie Churchill. “We need a single standard to ensure all veterinary health care team members are on the same page.” Multiple methods for assessing and classifying an animal’s body condition creates considerable confusion and requires additional clarification for veterinary professionals to distinguish how they are assessing a pet’s body condition.

APOP is pushing for the adoption of a universal BCS—a whole-integer, one-through-nine (1–9) scale. This scale will allow veterinarians to more consistently interpret veterinary medical research, accurately assess their patients’ body conditions and clearly communicate with colleagues and clients.

Excess weight can reduce pet life expectancy and negatively impact quality of life. “The reality is, obesity kills,” comments Dr. Joe Barges, Academic Director for Cornell University Veterinary Specialists and APOP Board member. “Numerous studies have linked obesity with type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, many forms of cancer and decreased life expectancy. Our survey validates the notion that we’re seeing more obese pets with more potential medical problems.”

APOP has joined forces with other international industry organizations to form The Global Pet Obesity Initiative. The group’s goal is to create obesity standards and provide training for the veterinary community. Leaders look forward to collaborating with other organizations, universities, researchers and industry leaders to develop additional efforts and tools to combat pet obesity as a disease. They also plan to develop a certifying procedure for veterinarians and veterinary technicians who successfully complete additional training programs.

To learn more about the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention or the 2015 study, visit PetObesityPrevention.org.

About the Research
The annual obesity prevalence survey is conducted by APOP. Veterinary practices assessed the body condition scores of every dog and cat patient they saw for a regular wellness exam on a given day in October. Body condition scores based on a five-point scale and actual weight were used in classifying pets as either underweight, ideal, overweight or obese. The latest survey included the assessment of 1,224 dogs and cats by 136 veterinary clinics.

About the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP)
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention was founded in 2005 by Dr. Ernie Ward with the primary mission of documenting pet obesity levels in the United States to raise awareness of the issue and its negative impact on pets. The APOP board is made up of veterinary practitioners, nutritionists, surgeons and internal medicine specialists. APOP conducts annual research to substantiate pet obesity prevalence levels in the United States and offers resources for veterinarians and pet owners to better equip them to recognize and fight pet obesity. More information about APOP can be found on their website, petobesityprevention.org and Facebook page, Facebook.com/PetObesityPrevention.

###

  • fat-dog

U.S. Pet Population Gets Fatter; Owners Fail to Recognize Obesity.

New Research from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention Shows a Rise of Obese Pets in 2014

March 26, 2015, Calabash, N.C.—The majority of the nation’s dogs and cats continue to be overweight, and most pet owners aren’t aware of the problem, according to new research from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). The eighth annual National Pet Obesity Prevalence Survey conducted by APOP found 58% of U.S. cats and 53% of dogs were overweight in 2014.<!–more–> The study also found a significant “fat pet gap,” in which 90% of owners of overweight cats and 95% of owners of overweight dogs incorrectly identified their pet as a normal weight.

“The ‘fat pet gap’ continues to challenge pet owners and veterinarians,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of APOP. “Pet owners think their obese dog or cat is a normal weight, making confronting obesity difficult. No one wants to think their pet is overweight, and overcoming denial is our first battle.”

The researched showed an increase specifically in the obese category. In 2013, 16.7% of dogs and 27.4% of cats were classified as clinically obese (greater than 30% normal or ideal body weight). In 2014, 17.6% of dogs, and 28.1% of cats were reported obese. This shift toward increasingly obese pets has specialists worried.

Dr. Steve Budsberg, veterinary orthopedic specialist and Director of Clinical Research for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, agrees. “The sad truth is that most people can’t identify an obese dog or cat. Whenever their veterinarian tells them their pet needs to lose weight, they often can’t believe it because they don’t see it.”

“We’re seeing an increasing number of obese pets and the diseases that accompany excess fat,” reports Dr. Julie Churchill, veterinary nutritionist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and many forms of cancer are associated with obesity in animals. It is critical pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not a healthy pet.”

Ward stated that obesity is the number one health threat pets face, and the most important pet health decision owners make each day is what and how much they feed. According to Ward, pet owners know being overweight is unhealthy; they just don’t know their own pet is too heavy. APOP’s goal is to educate pet owners and help veterinarians address the “fat pet gap” with their clients’ owners. By raising awareness, APOP aims to decrease the levels of pet obesity in the U.S. and help pet owners make the most informed choices possible for their pet.

To learn more about the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention or the 2014 study, visit www.petobesityprevention.org.

 

About APOP

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) is made up of dedicated veterinarians and veterinary healthcare personnel who are committed to making the lives of dogs, cats, all other animals and people healthier and more vital. APOP was founded in 2005 by veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, a competitive Ironman triathlete, certified personal trainer, and accredited USA Triathlon coach. A key component of APOP’s mission is to develop and promote parallel weight loss programs designed to help pet owners lose weight alongside their pets. www.petobesityprevention.org.

2014 Pet Obesity Statistics

fatabyssynian

An estimated 52.7% of US dogs are overweight or obese. An estimated 57.9% of US cats are overweight or obese. View all the results of the 2014 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey.

  • 2015-PetObesityAwareness

2015 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct our Ninth Annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.

In order to do this, we need your help. On October 7, we are asking you to record simple information for each pet that you perform a routine examination on that day. How many pets and the detail of information you obtain is up to you. Continue reading “2015 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day” »

2013 Obesity Facts & Risks

2013 US Pet Population (Source:  American Pet Products Manufacturers Association)
Dogs 83.3 million
Cats 95.6 million
Total Dogs and Cats 178.9 million
  • Approximately 68% of US households own at least one pet = 82.5 million homes
  • 68% of adult Americans are overweight or obese = approximately 148 million (Source: 2010 CDC)
  • petobesityawarenessday

2014 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

On Wednesday, October 8, 2014, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct our Eighth Annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.

In order to do this, we need your help. On October 8, we are asking you to record simple information for each pet that you perform a routine examination on that day. How many pets and the detail of information you obtain is up to you. Continue reading “2014 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day” »

2013 Pet Obesity Statistics

An estimated 52.6% of US dogs are overweight or obese. An estimated 57.6% of US cats are overweight or obese. View all the results of the 2013 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey.

  • pug

Pet Obesity Remains at Epidemic Levels According to New Research

Obesity Plagues Pets, Industry Being Challenged to Effect Change

CALABASH, N.C., MARCH 31, 2014—Most of the nation’s pets are overweight, and a majority of their owners are blind to the issue. New research, released by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), tells an alarming story. Veterinarians who assessed pets for the recent study recognized that more than half are overweight or obese. Cats carry the largest share of the obesity burden with 57.6 percent of the population recorded as overweight or obese. The dog population is close behind, with 52.6 percent of canines being classified as weighing too much.

“Among all diseases that perplex the veterinary community and plague our population of pets, obesity has the greatest collective negative impact on pet health, and yet it is almost completely avoidable,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of APOP. “The pet industry is mighty and well-meaning, but it’s time we stop accepting the status quo. We must start working together to fight obesity through knowledge and action.”

Abundant Health Risks

Obesity by itself is classified as a disease, but the health conditions associated with obesity reveal the heart of the epidemic’s impact on pets and their owners. Osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, various forms of cancer and decreased life expectancy are all linked to obesity in pets. “The body of evidence indicating that obesity causes costly and painful conditions is clear,” according to Dr. Joe Bartges, a veterinary nutritionist and internist who serves on the APOP board and as Small Animal Clinical Sciences department head at University of Tennessee Knoxville’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Without the obesity risk factor in place, the likelihood of pets getting many serious diseases is inarguably reduced.”

The Fat Gap

Pet owners who agreed to have their pets assessed for the study were first asked to classify their pets’ weight. Among all pets that veterinarians ultimately classified as obese, a whopping 93 percent of dog owners and 88 percent of cat owners initially thought their pet was in the normal weight range. APOP refers to this disparity as the “fat gap.”

“The fat gap is rampant and we believe it’s the primary factor in the pet obesity epidemic,” said Bartges. Primary knowledge gaps also include the basics of how much food pets should get daily. “There’s an entire nation of pet owners who are loving their pets to death with too many calories and not enough exercise. They are in the dark that their pets are overweight and that a host of diseases can arise as a result,” Bartges said.

Awareness at Core of Problem

Since the fat gap has been around for years, a new online poll of U.S. pet owners conducted by APOP sought to better understand the dynamics of pet obesity. The survey indicated that 42 percent of dog and cat owners admitted they don’t know what a healthy weight for their pets looks like.

While most owners of overweight pets either don’t realize or can’t tell that their pet is obese, the pet owner poll indicated one ultimate obesity risk that resonates. Seventy-two percent of owners believe that obesity causes a decreased lifespan in pets. “There have been many news headlines about obesity causing grave diseases and conditions in humans, and I believe most pet owners are aware of this, so they associate the same risks with their pets,” Bartges said. “But until more pet owners recognize that their pet is in the obesity danger zone, we can’t expect them to make changes.”

Call for Action

This year, APOP will lead the creation of an industry coalition to amplify the organization’s impact. The APOP coalition will invite partnerships with organizations that share the common goal of fighting obesity and supporting pets and their owners to create the healthiest household possible. Through the strength of the coalition, APOP will better continue its mission of raising awareness of pet obesity and fighting the epidemic through the power of knowledge and actionable tools.

About the Research

The annual obesity prevalence survey is conducted by APOP. Veterinary practices that participated assessed the body condition scores of every dog and cat patient they saw for a regular wellness exam on a given day in October. Body condition scores based on a five-point scale and actual weight were used in classifying pets as either underweight, ideal, overweight or obese. The latest survey included the assessment of 1,421 dogs and cats. The supplementary online pet owner study was conducted by Trone Brand Energy in December 2013 and included 590 U.S. pet owners.

About APOP

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention was founded in 2005 by Dr. Ernie Ward with the primary mission of documenting pet obesity levels in the United States to raise awareness of the issue and its negative impact on pets. The APOP board is made up of veterinary nutritionists and internal medicine specialists. The Association conducts annual research to substantiate pet obesity prevalence levels in the United States and offers resources and tools to veterinarians and pet owners to better equip them to recognize and fight pet obesity. APOP will announce an industry alliance in 2014 with the goal of increasing the organization’s effectiveness.

National Pet Obesity Awareness Study

SEE BELOW FOR DOWNLOADABLE DATA SHEETS

On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct our Ninth Annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.

In order to do this, we need your help. On October 7 we are asking you to record simple information for each pet that you perform a routine examination on that day. How many pets and the detail of information you obtain is up to you. Obviously more is better but our goal is to determine more accurately the exact number of pets in the United States that are overweight or obese. Our past experience demonstrates that this should add no more than 1-2 minutes to your normal physical examination routine.

If you are interested, simply complete the form and we will contact you with handouts, instructions, and measuring tapes to complete the study. This study is independent of any and all corporate sponsorships or involvements. It is important that this study remain neutral to protect the integrity and interpretation of results. If you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns feel free to contact me directly: DrErnieWard@gmail.com or 910-579-5550.

Please help us in our fight against obesity.

1392328881_pdfPet Obesity Awareness Day Study Instructions and Data Sheet 2015

Join the 2015 Study

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

SEE BELOW FOR DOWNLOADABLE DATA SHEETS

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct our Seventh Annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.

In order to do this, we need your help. On October 10 we are asking you to record simple information for each pet that you perform a routine examination on that day. How many pets and the detail of information you obtain is up to you. Obviously more is better but our goal is to determine more accurately the exact number of pets in the United States that are overweight or obese. Our past experience demonstrates that this should add no more than 1-2 minutes to your normal physical examination routine.

If you are interested, simply complete the form and we will contact you with handouts, instructions, and measuring tapes to complete the study. This study is independent of any and all corporate sponsorships or involvements. It is important that this study remain neutral to protect the integrity and interpretation of results. If you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns feel free to contact me directly: DrErnieWard@gmail.com or 910-579-5550.

Please help us in our fight against obesity.

Join the 2013 Study

Veterinarian Sign Up












Pet Owner Sign Up



Documents

1392328881_pdfPet Obesity Awareness Day Study Instructions 2013

1392328881_pdfPet Obesity Day Study Data Sheets 2013