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Home > General > What and When Is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day? (2024 Update)

What and When Is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day? (2024 Update)

fat cat and dog

Pet obesity has become a big problem for pets all over the world, but unfortunately, many people are unaware that their pets are obese. Due to this issue, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) created National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 12. The organization’s mission is to spread awareness about pet obesity, so it shares resources to teach people and pet parents what they can do to help obese pets and prevent pet obesity from occurring.

Read on to learn more about National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, why it’s so important, and how you can celebrate this day at home.


The History Behind National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

Pets have been a part of people’s lives for centuries; however, it wasn’t until recently that the numbers in pet obesity skyrocketed.

While we all want to show love and empathy for our pets, overfeeding can be a serious issue, which is why we need to practice discipline and put the well-being of our furry companions first. By current estimates, around 59% of dogs and 52% of cats worldwide are either overweight or obese.

Since obesity represents such a huge problem, a non-profit organization was founded in 2005 called the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, or APOP. Its main goal is to decrease pet obesity and help pets by treating and preventing the condition.

This organization created National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, which was first celebrated on October 12, 2007. This holiday has been celebrated ever since, helping out obese pets all over the world and teaching pet parents how to help their pets maintain a healthy weight.

obese dog
Image Credit: Ihtar, Pixabay

Why Is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Important?

Many people don’t realize that pet obesity is a huge problem, but the facts are that a large number of animals are overweight. Just as obesity is dangerous for humans, it’s dangerous for animals and can lead to various health issues, including death.

That’s what makes National Pet Obesity Awareness Day so important. It raises awareness of the problem of pet obesity, and it teaches us about what we can do to help our pets.

How Can You Celebrate National Pet Obesity Awareness Day?

There’s no particular type of celebration for National Pet Obesity Awareness Day; instead, everyone can participate and find their own way to contribute.

Here’s a list of common things that people do:
  • Identify if your pet is obese — Check to see if your pet is at a normal weight. Weigh your dog, and compare the measurement to their breed and age, or check out the free resources that APOP provides. It’s important to know when your pet’s weight might lead to a medical problem.
  • Take part in the APOP survey — Every year, on National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, APOP conducts a survey and collects data from around the U.S. about pet obesity. Afterward, it creates a snapshot showing the state of pet obesity in the country and makes a plan to decrease the numbers. By taking part in the survey, you’ll be contributing to its overall mission, which is a great way to celebrate.
  • Take your pet for a walk (if physically possible) — The walk will be beneficial for both you and your pet and will provide your pet with activity and help maintain their weight.
  • Have your pet exercise — Another easy way to celebrate National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is to have your pet exercise. Try to motivate them to move around in whichever way you find suitable. If you can, run with your pet, play with them, or engage in a fun activity that can keep you both stimulated.
  • Provide your pet with a healthy snack — As one of the main reasons that pets get obese is a poor diet, celebrate this day by providing your furry friend with a healthy snack. Also, check your pet’s meals, and if necessary, plan a plan for providing high-quality foods as part of a balanced diet.
  • Spread awareness about pet obesity — Finally, you can celebrate this day by spreading awareness about pet obesity and helping people around you understand how big of an issue it is.


Why Is Obesity So Dangerous for Pets?

Pet obesity carries various risks, from difficulty breathing to diabetes and other health problems. Therefore, it’s our job to be responsible pet parents and prevent our pets from becoming obese.

Here’s a list of common signs of obesity in pets:

  • Impaired breathing
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heat intolerance
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased immune function
  • Increased health risks

Obesity can also lead to health conditions like:

  • Fractures
  • Joint pain
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Arthrosis
  • Cardiorespiratory disorders
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Urinary tract disorders
  • Tumors
  • Allergies and eczema

An obese pet typically has a shorter life, may be unhappy/depressed, and need more veterinary care. Since obesity can lead to multiple health problems and cause discomfort for pets, it’s our responsibility as pet owners to help our animals maintain a normal weight and be healthy.

obese cat sitting on the floor
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

What Causes Pet Obesity?

Most pets become obese because they eat too much or consume foods that don’t provide them with proper nutrients. Another common reason for pet obesity is insufficient exercise; physical activity is extremely important for keeping your pet in good shape.

Other factors that can also make your pet more prone to obesity:

  • Age — Older pets are typically more prone to obesity than young pets. They are generally less active and have lower energy levels.
  • Sex — Female pets are more prone to obesity than males.
  • Breed — Some pet breeds are more prone to obesity than others.
  • Neuter status — Neutered pets are more likely to be obese than non-neutered pets.
  • Owner weight — Obese owners are more likely to have obese pets.


The 9 Shocking Pet Obesity Facts

  1. Most pets in the U.S.A. are obese; obesity is present in about 60% of cats and 56% of dogs.
  2. Around 30% of pet horses in the U.S.A. are obese.
  3. Dogs are categorized as obese when their weight is 10%–30% above their ideal weight.
  4. Cats are categorized as overweight when their weight is 10%–20% above their ideal weight. When cats are over 20% of their ideal weight, they are considered obese.
  5. Around 37% of dogs become overweight by the time that they are 6 months old.
  6. The rate of obesity increases with the owner’s and dog’s ages.
  7. Overweight pet parents are more likely to have overweight pets.
  8. The risk of death is much higher in obese dogs than in dogs with normal weight; their life is typically shorter by 2.5 years.
  9. Obesity can negatively impact your pet’s physical and mental health and lead to several other health problems.
an obese dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is a beautiful holiday with a strong message: It’s our job to help our pets maintain a normal weight and prevent obesity. If you want to engage in the celebration, try to spread awareness about pet obesity to others, and keep your pet in good shape.

Featured Image Credit: Kovalevskaya Polina, Shutterstock

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