National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

Pet Obesity Awareness Day

October 13 is an important day for pet health, as it is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Obesity is one of the most serious health risks facing pets today, because it is linked to so many critical diseases, including osteoarthritis, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, hypertension, and more. It is such a serious health concern that nearly two dozen veterinary healthcare organizations around the world signed a Global Pet Obesity Initiative Position Statement about the importance of uniform definitions of obesity and adopting a universal Body Condition Score for dogs and cats.

The impact of pet obesity

Pet owners can have a significant impact on their pet’s health, including increasing their longevity, by helping their pets maintain an ideal body weight and body condition score. In fact, keeping pets’ weight under control is the best way for pet owners to keep their pets healthy and active over the lifespan of their pet.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) routinely surveys pet owners and veterinary professionals about the prevalence of pet obesity seen in clinics, where pet owners turn for trusted dietary recommendations, and how often pet owners discuss their pet’s weight with their primary care veterinarian.

The results from the 2018 APOP surveys found that:

  • 5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs were classified as overweight or obese
  • Of those, 33.8% of cats and 18.9% of dogs were considered obese by veterinary professionals. Obese is defined as having a Body Condition Score of 8 or 9 on a 9-point scale
  • 80% of veterinary professionals addressed pet weight loss with their clients
  • 68% of all survey respondents (veterinary professionals and pet owners) favored reducing caloric intake to help with weight loss
  • 68% of pet owners said they would like their veterinarian to recommend an exercise routine and maintenance diet for their pets

While reducing calories has been shown in studies to be one of the most effective ways to help pets lose weight, regularly participating in low-impact exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight and contributes to joint health and a reduction in pain and discomfort, particularly in animals who have osteoarthritis. You can find approximate caloric needs for lightly active pets based on pet weight here. Always talk to your primary care veterinarian about the appropriate daily caloric goals for your pet.

If you haven’t talked to your veterinarian about your pet’s weight recently, we strongly urge you to discuss it during your pet’s next annual exam. Even a few extra pounds can have a significant and negative effect on your pet’s overall health.


Posted October 11, 2021 by Animal Surgical in Obesity, Pet Health with No Comments

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