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What You Need to Know about Pet Obesity

Pet Obesity

Pet obesity is a growing problem in North America, with more than half of the pet populations in the United States and Canada considered overweight or obese. While it can be difficult for some pet owners to curb giving their animals excessive treats, helping your pet achieve and maintain a healthy weight can go a long way towards ensuring they live longer, healthier lives.

According to a survey released in 2022 from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 61% of cats and 59% of dogs in the U.S. were classified as overweight or obese, up from 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in 2018. This study demonstrates that many pet owners are unable to recognize and reverse excess weight and overweight body conditions in their animals, leading to an increased risk of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory issues and other health concerns.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine compared the lifespans of two groups of dogs across a spectrum of breeds – dogs of normal body condition and those considered overweight. The study concluded that regardless of breed, overweight dogs had a shorter lifespan. Your pets love spending time with you, but extra treats or overfeeding in the long term can mean they have less time to enjoy your company.

If you are looking to help your pet shed some excess weight, start with consulting your veterinarian. Obesity can be a symptom of an underlying disease, so ruling out any health issues before adopting a new diet or exercise routine for your pet is vital. It is also important to remember that as their owner, the success of their weight loss journey is predicated on your commitment to their health, whether by feeding them high-quality foods, limiting overfeeding and excess treats or prioritizing exercise.

Statistics have shown that on an average weekday, pet owners spend three times as much time watching television as they do playing with their dogs and cats. Going for a walk or getting your pet interested in playing with a toy can do wonders for both their health and yours. 

As an IBPSA member, your pet care provider is devoted to your pet’s well-being. If you have any questions or need assistance, please give us a call at 877-318-8172 (8am-4pm CST) or email us at