Pet obesity is one of the most serious problems facing companion animals in America. As of October 2016, 53.9 percent of dogs and 58.9 percent of cats were obese. This condition makes cats and dogs more vulnerable to health concerns including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and hypertension.
Some research shows that obese pets also face an increased risk for some types of cancer. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, obesity contributes to the premature death of millions of companion animals.
Research shows that pet owners are largely unable to identify an obese animal. Moreover, many pet owners disagree with their veterinarians on issues related to ideal pet weight and nutritionally sound diets.
A healthy cat or dog should not have fat deposits obscuring the ribs. Owners should be able to feel each rib individually, as well as their pet's spine. Healthy pets should have an obvious waist when viewed from above, and they should not have a sagging abdomen or large fat deposits on the hips or chest.