More than half of U.S. dogs, cats are overweight or obese

In observance of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day last week, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are encouraging pet parents to pay attention to the problem facing an estimated 54 percent of pets in the United States.

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is a day to raise awareness about the growing pet obesity problem in the United States as well as an opportunity to gather more information during the ninth annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.

According to last year’s survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 58 percent of cats and 53 percent of dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese.

In addition to a decreased life-expectancy, animals who are overweight are at risk for cranial cruciate ligament injury, heart and respiratory disease, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, as well as osteoarthritis.

“Pet obesity is one of the most preventable health problems facing America’s pets,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Too much weight can age a pet, just like a person. Taking steps to help pets stay in shape can make a major improvement in their quality of life.”

Here are a few tips from BluePearl veterinarians for helping your pet slim down:
• Schedule regular check-ups with your family veterinarian. He or she can help evaluate your pet’s size and make recommendations about diet.
• Your family vet also can help you determine whether you’re feeding your pet the correct portion size.
• Don’t feed pets table scraps and take it easy with treats. Don’t confuse food with love.
• Get your pet moving. Exercise is as important for pets as it is for people.
• If your pet is obese, start your exercise program slowly. It’s OK to start with something as simple as a walk around the block.
For more information about National Pet Obesity Awareness day, contact your veterinarian and go to