2014 Pet Obesity Survey Results

U.S. Pet Population Gets Bigger, Owners Fail to Recognize Obesity

Portion of Obese Pets Rises in 2014

Calabash, North Carolina (February 8, 2015) - The majority of the nation’s dogs and cats are overweight and most pet owners aren’t aware of the problem. The seventh annual National Pet Obesity Prevalence Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found 58% of U.S. cats and 53% of dogs were overweight in 2014. 90% of owners of overweight cats and 95% of owners of overweight dogs incorrectly identified their pet as a normal weight.

“The ‘fat pet gap’ continues to challenge pet owners and veterinarians,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of APOP. “Pet owners think their dog or cat with obesity is 'normal and healthy,' making confronting obesity difficult. No one wants to think their pet is overweight and overcoming denial is our first battle.”  

Dr. Steve Budsberg, veterinary surgical specialist and Director of Clinical Research for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, agrees. “The sad truth is that most people can’t identify a dog or cat with obesity. Whenever their veterinarian tells them their pet needs to lose weight, they often can’t believe it because they don’t see it.”

Even more concerning is that U.S. pets are getting fatter. In 2013, 16.7% of dogs and 27.4% of cats were classified as obese (Body Condition Score 5). In 2014, 17.6% of dogs, and 28.1% of cats were reported obese. The shift toward increasingly pets with obesity has specialists worried.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of pets with obesity and the diseases that accompany excess fat,” reports Dr. Julie Churchill, veterinary nutritionist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and many forms of cancer are associated with obesity in animals. It is critical pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not a healthy pet.”

“Obesity is the number one health threat pets face,” Ward states. “People understand that being overweight is unhealthy; they just don’t know their pet is too heavy.” Ward founded APOP to raise awareness of pet obesity for both veterinarians and pet owners. “The most important pet health decision owners make each day is what and how much they feed. Our goal is to help pet owners make the most informed choice possible.”    

Total BCS 1 BCS 2 BCS 3 BCS 4 BCS 5

CAT 366 2 11 141 109 103

0.60% 3% 38.50% 29.80% 28.10%

BCS 4-5: 57.9%

Owner Reported BCS 1-3 for BCS 4-5 191/212 90.10%


Average Age - 7

54% SF, 46% NM

DOG 843 2 17 380 296 148

0.20% 2% 45.10% 35.10% 17.60%

BCS 4-5: 52.7%

Owner Reported BCS 1-3 for BCS 4-5 420/444 94.60%

% Overweight/Obese

Average Age - 6.3

F - 5.7%

M - 8.0%

SF - 43.3%

NM - 43%

75 Veterinary Clinics

29 US States

1209 total pets 366 - Cats, 843 - Dogs