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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.

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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

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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.

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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” »

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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.

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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 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

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2012 National Pet Obesity Survey Results

Pet Obesity Rates Rise, Cats Heavier Than Ever

Fifty-five Percent of U.S. Dogs and Cats Overweight in Latest Veterinary Survey

 

Calabash, N.C., March 12, 2013 – U.S. pet obesity rates continued to increase in 2012 with the number of overweight cats reaching an all-time high. The sixth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers.

52.5% of US Dogs Overweight or Obese or approximately 36.7 million

58.3% of US Cats Overweight or Obese or approximately 43.2 million

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 8.39.50 AM“Pet obesity remains the leading health threat to our nation’s pets.” states APOP’s founder and lead veterinarian for the survey Dr. Ernie Ward. “We continue to see an escalation in the number of overweight cats and an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.”

New York-based veterinary endocrinologist and APOP board member Dr. Mark Peterson agrees. “The soaring rate of feline and canine obesity is taking a terrible toll on our animals’ health. There is a vast population of overweight cats and dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes. The best preventive measure a pet owner can make is to keep their dog or cat at a healthy weight. Diabetes is far easier to prevent than treat, especially when twice daily insulin injections are needed.”

Veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Joe Bartges cautions that many pet owners don’t recognize when their pet is overweight. “In this survey, approximately 45 percent of cat and dog owners assessed their pet as having a normal body weight when the veterinarian assessed the pet to be overweight.” Dr. Ward calls the phenomenon of incorrectly evaluating an overweight pet as normal “the fat gap.” “The disconnect between reality and what a pet parent thinks is obese makes having a conversation with their veterinarian more challenging. Many pet owners are shocked when their veterinarian informs them their pet needs to lose weight. They just don’t see it.”

Certain breeds showed greater risk for excess weight. Veterinary healthcare providers classified 58.9 percent of Labrador retrievers and 62.7 percent of golden retrievers surveyed as overweight or obese. Surgical specialist Dr. Steve Budsberg of the University of Georgia is particularly concerned about the development of weight-related musculoskeletal conditions. “Once again, our data shows that obesity is rampant and we are certainly setting up more and more dogs and cats for joint problems during their lives. This results in hundreds of millions of dollars in medical bills and countless surgical procedures for weight-related conditions. As a veterinary surgeon I find this extremely frustrating; this disease is easily treatable and even simpler to prevent. Feed your pet less, exercise them more and see your veterinarian at least once a year.”

Dr. Ward also sees a clear connection between pet and childhood obesity rates. “The causes of pet and childhood obesity are largely the same: too many high-calorie foods and snacks combined with too little physical activity. Parents need to encourage children to put down their video games and pick up the dog leash to go for a walk. Instead of snacking on sugary treats, share crunchy vegetables with your dog. Eat more whole foods instead of highly processed fast food.”

“This is a war veterinarians, pet owners and parents must win. Obesity is the number one preventable medical condition seen in veterinary hospitals today and is the fastest growing health threat of our nation’s children. Our goal is to help pets and people live longer, healthier, and pain-free lives by maintaining a healthy weight, proper nutrition, and physical activity. The most important decision a pet owner makes each day is what they choose to feed their pet. Choose wisely. Your pet’s life depends on it.”

Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

  • The 2012 survey, conducted in October and December 2012, analyzed data from 121 veterinary clinics in 36 states
  • 1,485 dogs and 450 cats were assessed
  • 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
  • Dogs and cats were classified by veterinary clinics as: BCS 1 – Underweight, BCS 2 – Thin but normal, BCS 3 – Ideal weight, BCS 4 – Overweight, BCS 5 – Obese
  • 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)

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CONTACT:

Ernie Ward, DVM, CVFT

DrErnieWard@gmail.com

910-620-1295 / 910-579-5550

Mark Peterson, DVM, Dip. ACVIM

drpeterson@animalendocrine.com

212-362-2650

Big Pets Get Bigger: Latest Survey Shows Dog and Cat Obesity Epidemic Expanding

(Calabash, NC – February 6, 2012)

54% of Nation’s Pets Overweight According to Latest Veterinary Survey; Pet Owners in Denial

The “fat pet gap” continues to widen according to the latest nationwide survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). The fifth annual veterinary survey found 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats to be classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals 88.4 million pets that are too heavy according to veterinarians.

“The most distressing finding in this year’s study was the fact that more pet owners are unaware their pet is overweight.” comments APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward. “22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese. This is what I refer to as the “fat pet gap” or the normalization of obesity by pet parents. In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.”

Perhaps even worse was the finding that the number of obese pets, those at least 30 percent above normal weight or a body condition score (BCS) of 5, continues to grow despite 93.4 percent of surveyed pet owners identifying pet obesity as a problem. The study found 24.9 percent of all cats were classified as obese and 21.4 percent of all dogs were obese in 2011. That’s up from 2010 when 21.6 percent of cats and 20.6 percent of dogs were found to be obese. “What this tells us is that more and more of our pets are entering into the highest danger zone for weight-related disorders.” says Ward.

Some of the common weight-related conditions in dogs and cats include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, kidney disease, and shortened life expectancy. Orthopedic surgeon, APOP Board member and Director of Clinical Research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Steve Budsberg states that “The prevention of obesity needs to be at the forefront of all discussions people have about the health of their pet with their veterinarian. The body of evidence that shows the negative impact of obesity on all the body’s systems is overwhelming. As an orthopedic surgeon I see, on a daily basis, the effects of obesity on dogs and cats with osteoarthritis. It is very frustrating to see how much pain and discomfort excess weight has on my patients. Veterinarians and owners have the ability to stop obesity in our pets. No animal goes to the refrigerator or the pantry and helps themselves. We enable our pets to get fat!”

Ward agrees. “Pet obesity is plainly a people problem, not a pet problem. The most important decision pet owners make each day regarding their pet’s health is what they choose to feed it.”

Endocrinologist and fellow APOP Board member Dr. Mark Peterson agrees. “Obesity in dogs and cats is not just the accumulation of large amounts of adipose tissue, but it is associated with important metabolic and hormonal changes in the body. For example, heavy or obese cats are up to four times more likely to develop diabetes as a complication of their obesity. Losing weight can lead to reversal of the diabetic state in some of these obese cats.”

Treats continue to be a major contributor to weight gain in pets. An online poll conducted in October 2011 by APOP of 210 pet owners found 93 percent of all dog and cat owners gave treats. 95 percent gave a commercial treat with 26 percent reporting they gave their pet treats three or more times a day. “Treats are the silent saboteur of slimming down.” remarks Ward. “Those tiny treats are often hiding a significant amount of calories.” Ward suggests offering single-ingredient rewards or fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, string beans, broccoli or other crunchy vegetables.

Veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist Dr. Joe Bartges from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and APOP Board member notes that weight gain in pets can be prevented. “Prevention of obesity is much easier than treating it. The major obstacle is to convince pet owners what “overweight” and “obese” means and what it looks like. Veterinary health teams must educate the owner and work with them to prevent and treat obesity in their four-legged family members.”

Fat Cats Not In the Conversation

Only 49% of surveyed cat owners reported their veterinarian had discussed obesity and excess weight with them compared to 72% of dog owners. Even worse, only 46% of cat owners stated their veterinarian had reviewed nutrition or food choices compared to 86% of those with dogs. “This is a call to action for veterinarians; we must do a better job educating cat owners on obesity and preventive care.” says Dr. Ernie Ward.

Survey Notes

The survey was conducted at 41 US veterinary clinics and evaluated 459 dogs and 177 cats in October 2011. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians evaluated each pet to assess current weight, medical conditions, owner assessment of weight and body condition score. Over the five years studied, these results have proven to be consistent and increasing at a gradual pace.

Additional Survey Highlights

  • According to APOP’s survey results based on pet statistics from the American Pet Products Association, the following are estimated numbers of overweight and obese pets in 2011.
    • 41.1 million dogs classified as overweight or obese (BCS 4 or 5)
      • 53% adult dogs classified as overweight or obese (BCS 4 or 5)
      • 24.4 million dogs or 31.2% reported as overweight (BCS 4)
      • 16.7 million dogs or 21.4% reported obese (BCS 5)
  • 47.3 million cats classified as overweight or obese (BCS 4 or 5)
    • 55% adult cats classified as overweight or obese (BCS 4 or 5)
    • 25.8 million cats or 29.9% reported as overweight (BCS 4)
    • 21.5 million cats or 24.9% reported obese (BCS 5)
    • Only 8% of dog owners and 9% of cat owners classified their pet as obese in the online study. That’s less than half the actual figures determined by survey veterinarians. “The fact that few pet owners admit their pet is obese leads to a lack of interest in helping their pet lose weight. They know it’s a problem, just not for their pet. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t agree. Chances are their pet is overweight if not obese.” Dr. Ernie Ward
    • Average age of the cats in the study was 6.7 years and 6.4 years for dogs.
    • 16.8% of pet owners reported they purchased their pet food at a veterinary clinic, 61.1% at a pet store and 22.2% at a grocery store.
    • 76% of surveyed pet owners reported they learned about pet nutrition from their veterinarian, 71.5% from the internet, 22% from a pet store, 5.5% from a breeder, and 2.0% from a groomer. (multiple sources of information were allowed)
    • When it came to deciding which pet food to feed, 69.4% trusted their veterinarian, 36.3% a website, 20.6% a pet store, 4.4% a breeder, and 1.3% their groomer.
    • According to Dr. Ernie Ward, a 95-pound male Golden retriever is comparable to a 5’4” human female weighing 184 pounds or a 5’9” male that weighs 214 pounds.
    • A 10-pound Chihuahua is comparable to a 5’4” human female weighing 242 pounds or a 5’9” male that weighs 282 pounds.
    • A 15-pound domestic short-haired cat is comparable to a 5’4” human female weighing 218 pounds or a 5’9” male that weighs 254 pounds.
    • A premium pig ear (231 kcals) fed to a 40-pound dog is the equivalent of an adult human drinking six 12-ounce Coke Classics™ (840 kcals).
    • A typical dog biscuit (25 to 27 kcals) fed to a 20-pound dog is the equivalent of an average adult human eating two Keebler EL Fudge Double Stuffed Sandwich Cookies (180 kcals).
    • More weight and treat calculators can be found at www.PetObesityPrevention.org.

About APOP

Founded in 2005 by veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, APOP’s mission is to create and promote awareness of pet obesity and to develop parallel weight loss programs designed to help pet owners lose weight alongside their pets.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has launched campaigns to fight pet obesity within the veterinary medical community, veterinary schools, and state and local veterinary organizations, and has reached out to various media outlets. APOP is made up of dedicated veterinarians and veterinary healthcare personnel committed to making the lives of dogs, cats, all other animals and people healthier and more vital.

APOP is not affiliated with any veterinary industry corporation or business in any manner. This neutrality is critical to our ability to provide unbiased information and advice to veterinary healthcare providers and the pet-loving public.

Click here for APOP Survey 2011 in PDF format

Contact

www.PetObesityPrevention.org for full biography and additional resources and information

Dr. Ernie Ward DrErnieWard@gmail.com 910-579-5550

Dr. Steven Budsberg Budsberg@uga.edu 706-542-6314

Dr. Joe Bartges jbartges@utk.edu 865-974-8387

Dr. Mark Peterson drmarkepeterson@gmail.com 212-362-2650