Skip to content

    Healthy Pets

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Overweight Pets Face Health Woes, Too, FDA Says

    More than half of dogs, cats in the Land of Plenty weigh too much

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Robert Preidt

    HealthDay Reporter

    THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- America's weight problem extends to its pets, with a majority of cats and dogs dangerously overweight, a federal government veterinarian warns.

    "Just as obesity has become a serious problem in people, it's also a growing problem in pets, one that can seriously harm your pet's health," said Dr. Carmela Stamper, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

    About 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight, according to a 2015 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

    "The diseases we see in our overweight pets are strikingly similar to those seen in overweight people," Stamper said in an FDA news release. These include life-shortening conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, heart and respiratory disease, and kidney problems, she noted.

    So, what exactly signals obesity for Fido or Kitty?

    In general, 20 percent over ideal body weight is obese. And Stamper said age, breed, body type and metabolism can help tip the scales.

    "In dogs, some breeds seem more inclined toward obesity than others," Stamper said. Labs, beagles and long, low dogs such as dachshunds and basset hounds are some examples.

    Although America's cats are also fattening up overall, veterinarians say no specific feline breed is prone to pudginess.

    Stamper outlined some ways to determine if your pet is at a healthy weight. Look at your pet from above to see if it has a definite waist.

    "If not, and her back is broad and flat like a footstool, she is likely overweight," Stamper said.

    Run your hands along your pet's side. Can you easily feel the ribs, or do you have to push hard to feel them? Check your pet's abdomen/stomach. If you can easily grab a handful of fat, that's a sign your pet is overweight.

    If you're concerned about your pet's weight, or want to know how to keep your pet at a healthy weight, talk to your veterinarian, Stamper said.

    Today on WebMD

    tick
    Track Flea and Tick Activity
    Puppy digging hole
    Are you putting your pet at risk?
     
    Cat looking at fish
    Things we can learn from our pets.
    dog and kitten
    27 ways pets help your health.
     
    Woman holding puppy
    Article
    Sad dog and guacamole
    Slideshow
     
    Siamese cat eating from bowl
    Slideshow
    cat on couch
    Evaluator
     
    Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
    Slideshow
    Kitten playing
    Quiz
     
    Orange cat nuzzling woman
    Slideshow
    German shephard reading a book
    Quiz