#tbt Pet obesity epidemic continues causing debate
Owners, vets and pet food manufacturers have been blamed for dog and cat obesity rates.
From Petfood Industry:
For nine years, a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has recorded pet obesity rates and owners’ attitudes about dog and cat obesity.
In 2011, the report documented the rising rate of dog and cat obesity. At that time, 55.6 percent of US dogs, or 43 million animals, were overweight or obese, while 50 million US cats were overweight or obese, 54 percent of the population.
Back then, pet food manufacturers didn’t have to include the calorie content on pet food labels. Now, pet food manufacturers must comply with Association of American Feed Control Officials regulations.
Pet obesity in 2016
However, pet obesity still causes concern among veterinarians, pet owners and pet food manufacturers.
APOP’s latest survey results from 2015 found that about 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs were overweight or obese.
In past surveys, APOP had focused on the “fat gap”: Despite veterinary assessments that their pets’ weighed too much, 90 percent of owners of overweight cats and 95 percent of owners of overweight dogs believed their pets’ weight was normal. Now the association is saying even veterinarians are confused or ill-informed.
APOP’s 2015 survey revealed a lack of consensus in the US veterinary community about the definition of obesity. Though the association defines clinical pet obesity as 30 percent above ideal weight, the definition varies among veterinarians, industry stakeholders and pet owners.
The fourth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention shows more than 50% of US dogs and cats are now overweight or obese. Specifically, the survey highlights these preliminary data: 55.6% of US dogs-43 million-are overweight or obese; 20% of US dogs-16 million-fall into the obese category; 54% of US cats-50 million-are overweight or obese; and 22% of US cats-20 million-are obese.