Adjustments to pet food diets, plus exercise and lifestyle changes, are being recommended in a new report from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).

The APOP National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study was released today. The study found that approximately  35% of dogs are overweight,  and 20.6% are obese.  Cats suffered from very similar numbers, 32% were found to be overweight, and almost 22% obese.

“While the general trend of overweight pets has remained fairly steady at around 50%, the number of obese pets is growing” said Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of APOP. He noted that “This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease costing pet owners millions in avoidable medical costs.”

This is the fourth annual study that APOP has done on overweight dogs and cats.

Dr. Steven Budsberg, from the University of Georgia and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons past president, added ““As a surgeon, many of the joint problems I treat are related to excess weight… Many overweight pets experience severe joint pain that could easily be prevented by proper diet and exercise.”

Dr. Ward said of the study “Our ultimate goal is to help pet owners better care for both themselves and their pets through better diet, exercise and lifestyle strategies.”