Dog, cat owners and veterinarians differ on pet obesity

In the 2021 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) survey, 39% of dog owners and 45% of cat owners responded that they consider their pet overweight or obese. However, APOP researchers believe that figure lies closer to 50% for both dogs and cats.

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(cynoclub | BigStock.com)
(cynoclub | BigStock.com)

Pet owners and veterinarians continue to disagree on the degree of pet obesity found in dogs and cats in the United States. In the 2021 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) survey, 39% of dog owners and 45% of cat owners responded that they consider their pet overweight or obese. However, APOP researchers believe that figure lies closer to 50% for both dogs and cats.

Nevertheless, the majority of pet owners (72%) do consider pet obesity to be a disease, compared to 87% of veterinarians. While veterinarians and pet owners are aware of the problem, only 46% of pet owners reported that their veterinarians discussed their pet’s ideal or healthy weight every year, while 22% of pet owners said veterinarians addressed their pets’ weight only if asked specifically about it. Another 12% reported not discussing pets’ weights with veterinarians.

Veterinarians reportedly offered recommendations for weight maintenance diets to 34% of pet owners without asking every year, although 43% did not. Another 23% of veterinarians gave recommendations when asked.

Veterinary clinics remained the most frequent choice for pet dietary recommendations among pet owners at 41.4%. Dog and cat owners second most frequent choice for the best source of pet food advice was the internet at 36.5%. Only 7.6% reported pet stores as the best place for pet food recommendations.

Association for Pet Obesity Prevention survey methodology

The online survey was completed by 865 pet parents and veterinary professionals from October 12 to December 31, 2021. Participants lived in 47 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Generational representation included 25% Baby Boomers (57-75 years of age), 32% Millennials (25-44), 21% Generation X (41-56), 18% Generation Z (<25), and 3% Silent Generation (>75).

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