The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention recently released its survey statistics for 2018, which found that 55.8% of dogs and 59.5% of cats in the United States are classified as overweight or obese. The numbers are relatively unchanged from 2017, and the survey also found that pet owners are confused about pet nutrition. Although 68 percent of owners answered yes to the question, “Would you like your veterinarian to recommend a routine/maintenance diet for your pet?” only 38 percent reported that their vet had recommended a routine/maintenance diet to feed. “Veterinarians need to understand obesity is a disease and offer more treatment options than diet and exercise,” says APOP president, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. “Pet owners have an overwhelming number of diet choices and are often confused by the nutritional advice they see online.” Dr. Ward also noted that pet owners may be embarrassed or feel judged due to “fat shaming” so don’t want to ask their vet about obesity, or vets are afraid they’ll offend pet owners by bringing the topic up.
Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.