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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


State of pets

Unfortunately obesity in pets is a pretty common phenomenon in many countries around the globe. In the United States alone the obesity overweight rates for dogs range from 23% to 41% according to Lund Elizabeth from the University of Minnesota. About 5% of these overweight cases could be classified as obese. The obesity rate for cats in the USA is slightly higher with almost 6,4%

According to a study conducted in Australia the obesity rate of dogs in the country is almost 7,6% of the land’s total dog population. The experiment also shows a potential correlation between pet obesity and obesity rates of their human owners. The most common nutritional disease with cats and dogs in Australia is obesity. Obese cats and dogs have – just like humans – an increased chance of getting arthritis and heart diseases. That’s why we think it’s extremely important to balance out the diet of your pet and treat them with love and respect.


We’re sad to see that there are many cases across the globe where pet owners are being prosecuted for animal cruelty because of their obese pets. A rather infamous case back in 2006 in the UK cited two British brothers for animal cruelty towards their overly obese dog. The poor Labrador retriever was made so obese by its owner that it almost looked like a seal and could barely waddle a few steps without getting tired.

The main reasons for obesity in domestic animals are over eating and a lack of physical exercise. In most of the western countries people can afford to give their animals more food than they actually need. Many owners use food as treat or reward towards their pets, which in turn contributes to the overeating problem. Modern day pet food is often of decent quality and many pets actually like the food to the extent of eating to the limit of their stomach capacity. Add to this the fact that many pets (especially dogs) aren’t allowed to (or don’t have the space to) roam free like they did in the past, and you have the perfect formula for obesity.

Another interesting finding comes from a study conducted in 2009 at the University of Illinois. It states that many pets have an increased chance of becoming obese after a surgical sterilization. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention almost 53% of adult dogs and 55% of adult cats held as pets are overweight across the whole world.

Most of you will probably agree that these statistics and experiments show us an important message. Animal (pet) obesity is becoming a serious problem and if we don’t act soon and raise more awareness about the issue, more and more people will keep feeding their cats and dogs too much (unhealthy) food. Being obese isn’t good for humans, and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen to pets as well.

On the Guidance page you can read about some useful tips and tricks you can use to prevent or counter obesity for your own pets.