84M pets are overweight, obese


This association estimates half of the dogs and cats in the United States are too heavy.

National Report

-- The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates half of the dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. That’s 33 million dogs and 51 million cats, according to APOP.

On Wednesday, the APOP hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of pet obesity during the third annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Veterinarians are being asked to gather data on the weight of the pets they treat, and pet owners are invited to log on to APOP’s Web site to answer questions and report their animals' size and weight.

"Pudgy pooches and fat cats are now the norm," says Dr. Ernie Ward, founder and president APOP. "This is the first generation of pets that will not live as long as their parents. Even worse, the majority of today's overweight pets will endure painful and expensive medical conditions -- all of which can be avoided. We're loving our pets to an early -- and painful -- death."

The biggest cause of the obesity epidemic is carbs, according to Ward. Today's pets consume high carbohydrate and sugar treats and foods that create changes in their brain chemistry, causing them to crave these foods even more, he says.

Too often veterinarians aren't taught how to prevent obesity -- only how to treat the consequences, which is why APOP has partnered with the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) to heighten discussion at the nation's veterinary medical schools.

For more information about Wednesday's events or APOP, click here.

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