Survey: U.S. pet obesity rates plateau and nutritional confusion grows

U.S. pet obesity rates remained relatively unchanged in 2018, with 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs classified as overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. During the 11th annual survey, APOP also found pet owners and veterinary professionals were confused by conflicting pet nutritional advice and continue to struggle to help pets achieve safe and ideal weights.

“Veterinarians need to offer more obesity treatment options than: Feed less and exercise more.” states APOP President, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. “The majority of pet owners are overwhelmed with pet food choices and conflicting dietary advice and desperately want help and nutritional recommendations from veterinarians.”

In the October 2018 clinical survey, 25.7 percent  of cats and 36.9 percent of dogs were classified as Overweight (body condition score (BCS) 6 to 7 on a 9-point scale). 33.8 percent  of cats and 18.9 percent of dogs with Obesity (BCS 8 to 9) by their veterinary healthcare professional. That equals an estimated 56 million cats and 50 million dogs are Overweight or Obese, based on 2018 pet population projections provided by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). In 2017, APOP found 60 percent  of cats (26.5 percent Overweight /33.5 percent Obese) and 56 percent of dogs (36.4 percent /19.6 percent ) were Overweight or Obese.