Pet-to-Human Weight Translator

Pet Weight Translator Compares Weights of Pets to People

(Originally released August 2, 2010) 

Veterinarians concerned about the growing pet obesity epidemic want people to know that a 12 pound Yorkie is equivalent to an average height human female weighing 218 pounds and a 14 pound cat is equivalent to a 237 pound man. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has created an online pet weight translator and tables of the most common breeds that compare the weights of dogs and cats relative to people.

APOP Founder and President Dr. Ernie Ward remarks on why the group created these tools. “As a veterinarian I’m always looking for ways to demonstrate how serious even a few excess pounds on a pet can be. These tables and calculations put pet weights in human terms, making it easier to understand. For example, if I tell a client their female Lab is 20 pounds overweight, that doesn’t sound too bad. Owners think ‘It’s a big dog.’ If I tell them it’s the same as if they weighed over 190 pounds, suddenly the lightbulb goes on. ‘My dog is overweight.’”

More important than light bulbs flashing, Ward hopes to educate pet owners about the dangers of pet obesity and poor nutrition.

“Over half the nation’s dogs and cats are now overweight making pet obesity one of the leading health threats of pets. Largely preventable diseases such as arthritis and diabetes are being seen in record numbers shortening pets’ lives and owners millions in medical bills. The reality is many of these cases could be avoided simply by preventing weight gain and excess fat accumulation.”

So what can pet owners do to fight weight gain in their pets?

“The single most valuable tool a pet owner has in the fight against obesity is a food scale or measuring cup. Most pet owners don’t measure how much they’re feeding and even fewer know how much they should be feeding.” responds Ward.

To determine how many pounds on a pet equal those on a person, the group used average heights for men and women, 5 foot 9 inches and 5 feet 4 inches, respectively. They then used the normal range of the Body Mass Index (BMI), 18.5 to 24.9. These weights were then compared to a breed’s normal weight range.

Ward explains, “Our calculations were performed in the most conservative fashion. We used the upper range of ‘normal’ weights for women (145 pounds) and men (169 pounds) as well as the upper weight range for breeds as a starting point for our pet equivalents. When our charts state a 23 pound Shih tzu is equal to a 208 pound female, we’re definitely reporting the lowest estimate.”

One of the key barriers to pet weight loss is owner’s denial or ignorance of the problem which Ward calls the ‘fat gap.’

“Many owners incorrectly believe their pet is a physically-large animal. They view their overweight 95-pound Labrador retriever as a ‘Big Lab.’ That’s most likely a misguided assessment. Most healthy weight Labs are around 60-80 pounds. The reality is very few humans are actually the size of an NBA or NFL professional athlete. Those guys are truly ‘big.’ Very few dogs or cats are correspondingly as large as that, in relative terms. By putting their pet’s weight in terms people can relate to, I can more easily explain why their pet may have obesity, rather than them thinking it’s a ‘really big Lab.’”

Other highlights of the data include:

  • 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5’ 4” female or 217 pound 5’ 9” male

  • Every excess pound on a female Lab is equal to 4 to 5 pounds on a 5’ 4” female or 5’ 9” male

  • 15 pound average DSH/DMH/DLH cat is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male

  • Every excess pound on an average DSH/DMH/DLH cat is equal to 14 to 15 pounds on a 5’ 4” female or 17 pounds on a 5’ 9” male

  • 15 pound average DSH/DMH/DLH cat is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male

  • 105 pound male Golden retriever is equal to a 203 pound 5’ 4” female or 237 pound 5’ 9” male

  • Every excess pound on a female Golden is equal to 4 to 5 pounds on a 5’ 4” female or 5’ 9” male

  • 12 pound Pomeranian is equal to a 249 pound 5’ 4” female or 290 pound 5’ 9” male

  • Every excess pound on a Pomeranian is equal to 21 to 21 pounds on a 5’ 4” female or 24 to 25 pounds on a 5’ 9” male

Click here for the Pet Weight Translator