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The Top 5 States for Pet Obesity

The Top 5 States for Pet Obesity


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In the United States, people continue to gain weight. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, almost two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese compared to a 15% obesity rate in 1990. But what does this mean for our pets?

Quite simply put, our pets are getting fatter too.

According to recent statistics, compiled in the 2013 Banfield State of Our Site Report, pet obesity is increasing at an alarming rate. Drawing on a sizable sample group of 2 million dogs and nearly half a million cats, the report shows that 37% more dogs and 90% more cats are obese this year compared to five years ago.

Geography might have something to do with it. As reported by The Huffington Post, the top five states for pet obesity are:

  1. Minnesota (38% of dogs, 41% of cats)
  2. South Dakota (29% of dogs, 32% of cats)
  3. Utah (27% dogs and cats)
  4. Washington (25% of dogs, 27% of cats)
  5. Colorado (24% of dogs, 26% of cats)

What do all of these states have in common? Longer, colder, and snowier winters. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Brittany King, DVM and associate veterinarian at the Banfield Pet Hospital in Cypress, TX, sees a link: pets living in colder climates may not get out as much in the winter, meaning less exercise.

Regardless of whether you live in an “at-risk” state for pet obesity, it’s always important to treat your pet to plenty of exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary checkups. Pet obesity can be a huge problem and affect the longevity of your best furry friend. Be sure to read our full-length articles for more information about the negative implications of pet obesity and ways to keep your pet slim, trim, and happy!


America's Pets Are Fat and They Are Getting Fatter: 'Obesity Is the Single Biggest Threat to Our Pets' Health'

If you think your pet might be too pudgy, you certainly aren't alone. A nationwide survey suggests that more than half of U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese.

Pet obesity rates plateaued last year, with confusing nutritional advice making it harder for owners and even vets to keep pets at a healthy weight, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention revealed Tuesday.

Nearly 60 percent of cats and more than 55 percent of dogs last year were classified as overweight or obese in a clinical survey carried out by the non-profit in October 2018. APOP included results from 1,560 dogs and 646 cats in 41 states.

Using pet population estimates from the American Pet Products Association, APOP concluded some 56 million cats and 50 million dogs across America may be carrying extra pounds.

Particularly worrying, veterinarian and APOP president Ernie Ward told Newsweek, was an increase in the percentage of cats classed as obese, compared to those who were overweight. "These pets are at the greatest risk of weight-related disorders," Ward said.

As well as affecting an animal's quality of life, carrying extra weight puts pets at risk of developing health problems like osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. It can even reduce life expectancy by up to two years, Ward explained. "Obesity is the single biggest threat to our pets' health and well-being," he said.

APOP also quizzed 1,156 owners and 574 vets on how they approached their pets' weight. Nearly 70 percent of owners and 80 percent of vets had tried to trim their animals' waistlines, with varying rates of success.

Most people reduced the amount of food their pets ate, with 38 calling the method "very effective" and 33 percent reporting it was "somewhat effective." Low-calorie and prescription weight loss diets received poorer results, with half of vets and 70 percent of owners saying they hadn't tried a prescription weight loss diet.

The majority (68 percent) of owners wanted their vets to recommend a diet to help keep their pets in good shape. But less than 40 percent said their animal doctors had actually suggested such a diet over the past year.

A wealth of factors beyond diet and exercise can contribute to an animal's weight, Ward explained. Hormonal imbalances, genetics and even the state of a pet's microbiome—the genetic material of the army of microorganisms that live inside and outside an animal's body—can influence its weight.

Although most pet owners told APOP they believed their vets were "knowledgeable" about their animals' dietary needs, 40 percent said they hadn't received any nutritional advice on vet visits.

Owners worried about their own pet's weight should work with their vet to create a "sensible and sustainable" weight-loss program, Ward told Newsweek. "Veterinarians need to expand their advice beyond 'feed less and exercise more' and search thoroughly for other causes."


Fish are near the top of the popularity chart.

Fish are the third most popular pet in the United States, with nearly 12% of American households owning at least one. Owners say they make attractive home decor, as well as that maintaining fish, is a fun and easy hobby.

Certain breeds are more popular than others. Saltwater fish are less common than freshwater, perhaps because the cost of maintaining freshwater fish tends to be much lower on average, according to Aquarium Architecture.


States with the Fattest Pets Revealed in New Report

As Americans are getting fatter, so are their pets — a new report says that about a third of pet cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.

For the report, researchers at the veterinary hospital chain Banfield analyzed information from about 2.5 million dogs and half a million cats that were seen at their clinics during 2016.

Interestingly, the states with the pudgiest pets often weren't the same as the states with the highest rates of human obesity. For example, southern states including Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi have some of the highest obesity rates in the nation, but they had some of the lowest rates of pet obesity.

The state with the greatest percentage of portly pets was Minnesota, in which 41 percent of dogs and 46 percent of cats were overweight or obese, according to the Washington post's story on the report.

The report highlights the growing trend of pet obesity. Over the last 10 years, the percentage of cats and dogs that are overweight has increased more than 150 percent, according to Banfield.

The trend is concerning because obesity in animals, as in humans, is linked with an increased risk of health problems. For example, as the percentage of overweight and obese pets has increased, so have the rates of diseases that may occur with obesity, such as arthritis, the report said. [11 Ways Your Beloved Pet May Make You Sick]

Extra pounds may also translate to extra costs for pet owners, Banfield said. Owners of overweight dogs spend 17 percent more on their dogs' healthcare costs, and owners of overweight cats spend 36 percent more on healthcare costs, compared to owners with healthy-weight dogs and cats, the report said.

There may be several reasons for the rise in pet obesity, including misconceptions about what counts as "overweight" in pets. Overweight dogs and cats may be becoming the "new normal," and people may be uncertain about how much they should feed their pets, according to Banfield.

To reduce the chances of obesity in your pet, Banfield recommends cutting down on treats and increasing exercise for your pets. For example, dog owners can take their dog for a walk or play catch, and cat owners can have their kitties play with a jingle ball or feather teaser. Owners should also take their pets for regular checkups and speak with their veterinary about nutrition counseling.


When it comes to pet-friendly states, we wanted to point out places where you and your pet will find a strong community with proper measures to protect animals.

We ranked states on the following:

  • Percentage of pet-friendly apartments (30%) 1
  • Pet population (20%) 2
  • Pets-left-in-car laws (10%) 3
  • Veterinary reporting requirement laws (10%) 4
  • Tether laws (10%) 5
  • Anti-cruelty laws (15%) 6,7
  • Animal fighting paraphernalia laws (5%) 8

Note: We omitted Alaska and Hawaii because not all data points were available. See our animal ranking-factor or law overview sections for more information.

We looked for places with a lot of pet-friendly apartments and high pet populations. It’s one thing to live in a place that allows you to have a pet and another to find friends with pets.

And with more pet owners around, you’re more likely to come across parks, trails, or restaurants that allow dogs or other pets.

To make sure your pet (along with everyone else’s) is protected, we also considered laws that demonstrate compassion toward animals. Pet owners can feel a lot better knowing the rest of the community cares about animals.

We’ll also share some considerations that didn’t go into our weighing requirements but are still good things to know as a proud pet parent.


Watch the video: Which states have the fattest pets?


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