The percentage of pet cats and dogs classified as overweight remained relatively constant over the past year, but the rate of obesity increased, especially in cats, according to the fifth annual veterinary survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
The survey, conducted in October 2011, asked 41 U.S. veterinary clinics to classify adult dogs and cats on a scale from 1 to 5, with 3 being normal weight, 4 overweight and 5 obese. Among the 459 dogs and 177 cats evaluated:
- 21.3% of dogs were classified as obese compared with 20.6% in 2010, while
- 24.8% of cats were classified as obese compared to 21.6% in 2010.
- The percentage of dogs classified as overweight or obese declined from 55.6% in 2010 to 52.5% in 2011
- The percentage of cats classified as obese rose from 53.7% in 2010 to 54.7% in 2011.
Among owners of obese or overweight cats or dogs:
- 22% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners erroneously characterized their pet as normal.
- 49% of cat owners reported their cat’s veterinarian had discussed obesity and excess weight with them, and 46% reported their cat’s veterinarian had reviewed nutrition or food choices.
- 72% of dog owners reported their veterinarian had discussed obesity and excess weight with them, and 86% reported their veterinarian had reviewed nutrition or food choices.
An online poll found that 93% of all dog and cat owners gave treats, including 26% who gave treats three or more times per day.
- The most common place for dog or cat owners to purchase dog or cat food was at pet stores, with 61.1% of owners reporting this option, while 22.2% purchased pet food from grocery stores and 16.8% purchased from veterinary clinics.
- Of dog and cat owners, 76% reported they learned about pet nutrition from their veterinarian, 71.5% from the internet, 22% from a pet store, 5.5% from a breeder and 2% from a groomer, with respondents allowed to choose multiple answers.
- When choosing what type of pet food to feed their pets, 69.4% of owners trusted their veterinarians, 36.3% turned to a website, 20.6% decided at the pet store, 4.4% utilized a breeder and 1.3% trusted their groomer.