The Obesity Epidemic – of Pets

Obese Cat

photo: NY Times

The modern world has been overly bountiful in its food supply for us humans, and has led us to an obesity epidemic of epic proportions. But our pets are overweight too! In fact 60% of household cats and dogs are considered overweight.

The first ever obesity clinic for pets is now open for business in Massachusetts, opened by Tufts University, known for its excellent nutrition program. Question: is this really needed?

Apparently, pet owners have a hard time telling when their pooch has started to gain weight. There’s no such thing as a BMI for cats. Additionally, calorie counts on pet food packages are highly unreliable. Read more from the LA Times….

Do you own a pet? How do you make sure it stays slim and fit?

  • WillieB

    High quality cat food (no filler, no Red # 40). My cat’s behavior on Red # 40 is unbearable! And no cat treats – a bite of chicken or fish is a good treat, a can of gooey fish mess or tuna scented fish shaped kibble is not.

  • George Babbitt


    • Fooducate

      Hi George, don’t take it too hard, one post in 4 years about pets is not going to hurt anyone ;-)

      • George Babbitt

        It terrifies me every time there is a move towards equating pets/animals with people. Glad to hear this is the first. I hope it’s the last.

  • carol

    Having once been the (adoptive) owner of an overweight cat… I can attest that it isn’t always the owner who is at fault: 1. “fixed” male indoor cats get fat due to lack of activity, and possibly hormone “changes;” 2. our cat had a tumor in his small intestine that we didn’t even know about for who-knows-how long… thought it was all fat. He did love to eat, though (what else did he have to do?).

  • Babs

    It’s so simple…..raw diet, raw diet, raw diet. Cats and dogs eat meat……(although dogs do eat some veggies) and raw meat is the best for them. If we weren’t around to cook for them (or make sure their dish is filled with kibble) would they starve?…. or go off and find a bird or animal to kill and eat? I have five rescued cats and one rescued dog, and I got them all as babies except for the dog. All eat a raw diet. All are spayed or neutered, the oldest being 12 years old. None are even the slightest bit overweight, none ever have parasites, none are ever sick, all have boundless energy and a love for life. They do not eat commercial pet food. It is my opinion, based on my research, that most commercial pet food is garbage…it’s dead and so toxic…stay away from it. You can either give your pet the kind of food they need now or spend your money later trying to get their health back. I’m not advocating spending tons of money either… can do this inexpensively! It’s a lot cheaper than vet bills.

    • Hoff

      Babs – I’ve been trying to get into a raw diet for my cat who has developed heart disease that I attribute to processed cat food. Can you offer some guidance? What exactly are you feeding your cats?

      • Babs

        Hoff, –If you are still interested in info on feeding your cat a raw diet, email me and I will send you some info.

  • koderken

    Well, obviously, it’s because pets are drinking too many oversized sodas. Just ask Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City city council.

  • Babs

    Hoff, I surely can! It’s too much to post here tho. I’ve been doing this for years and you will never regret it!! I’ve seen some really great stuff happen when you give them REAL food. Is there some way to email you off this post?

    • Anitabe

      Babs..I have 4 cats…could you plz email me what you feed them….I would love to get them on a raw diet..

  • Tracy

    Honestly, we tend to feed our pets and kids the same way we feed ourselves. Someone eating canned soup or hamburger helper is most likely also feeding their pets canned food, but owners cooking themselves a fresh whole food meals is likely also giving some to their pets. Good food for thought.

    • Amanda

      Actually, canned food is usually better food for cats. They aren’t built to eat a lot of carbs, and dry food is mostly carbs.

  • packhawk

    My puppy was overweight when I got her and the owner admitted it! My dog would eat the whole bag of food if left to her own devices. With portion control and twice daily walks we had her back to reasonable weight in on time. During vet check-ups the vet always seems pleasantly shocked that our dog is slender, as if that is the first dog he has ever seen like that. Find out what is appropriate for your dog’s breed and gender, don’t go by the recommendation on the bag. Also, go for the high quality food from pet stores, not the junk at a discount store. A our number one rule–no table scraps!

  • Caty

    Just as processed food isn’t good for people, it’s not good for animals, either! I feed a raw diet to my cats and dogs and they are thriving. Much leaner, more muscle mass than a kibble fed dog.