94% of dog owners consider their dog family. That’s a feel-good statistic we all can support. Sadly, 56% of dog owners—many unknowingly—are adding unnecessary risk to the life of their family member through obesity.
We gathered 61 terrifying dog obesity facts that paint a grim picture of the state of health of our beloved family members.
Dog Obesity Facts:
- There are 50 million dogs in the United States.
- 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.
- 68% of pet owners have tried to help their pets lose weight.
- 80% of veterinarians have tried to help their pets lose weight
- The majority of obese dogs are between 6-10 years old.
Dog obesity stats by body condition:
1,560 dog owners were surveyed using a body condition score chart like the one below. These were the results:
- 0.2% scored their dog as being too thin.
- 0.9% scored their dog as being healthy thin.
- 43.1% scored their dog as being healthy normal.
- 36.9% scored their dog as being overweight.
- 18.9% scored their dog as being obese.
- 68% used calorie reduction and smaller portions to help their dog lose weight.
- 38% found calorie reductions very effective.
- 33% found calorie reductions somewhat effective.
- 61% increased their dog’s daily exercise to help lose weight.
- 36% found increased exercise very effective.
- 30% found increased exercise somewhat effective.
- 29% used low-calorie/low-fat pet food.
- 9% found dietary dog foods very effective.
- 14% found dietary dog foods somewhat effective.
- 19% used a prescription weight loss diet.
- 13% found prescription diet food very effective.
- 14% found prescription diet food somewhat effective.
- The largest dog ever recorded was Zorba, a 343-pound Mastiff. Zorba was described as being the size of a small donkey.
Obesity and Disease in Dogs:
- An obese dog is 2.6x more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
- 38% of neutered and spayed dogs are overweight.
- 5.6% of neutered and spayed dogs are obese.
- These breeds have a 30% higher likelihood of being overweight or obese:
- Cocker Spaniel
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Shetland Sheepdogs
- mixed breed dogs
- Dogs in the pacific or northeast region are more likely to be obese.
- Dogs in the pacific or northeast have a higher likelihood of suffering from:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Ruptured cruciate ligament
- 34.1% of obese dogs have oral disease.
- 30.5% of overweight dogs have oral disease.
- 4.2% of obese dogs have arthritis/osteoarthritis vs. 2.4% in dogs with a healthy weight.
- 10.3% of obese dogs suffer from neoplasia vs. 5.3% in dogs with a healthy weight.
- 3.3% of obese dogs suffer from hypothyroidism vs. 0.8% in dogs with a healthy weight.
- These 3 dog breeds have the highest risk of developing cancer:
- Golden Retriever.
- The Beagle has a 632% highest risk of bladder neoplasms compared to the Boxer and Golden Retriever.
- Golden Retriever has a 320% higher risk of splenic tumors.
- Boxers have a 420% higher risk of skin cancers.
- These 3 dog breeds have the lowest risk of developing cancer:
- French Bulldog
- Purebred dogs have a 1.9 times higher cancer risk than crossbreeds and mixed-breeds.
- Goldendoodles are 47.4% less likely to have cancer.
- Labradoodles are 61.9% less likely to have cancer.
- Rottweilers are 10 times more likely to have bone cancer than the average dog.
- 40% of dog owners don’t walk their dogs regularly.
- Dog owners who walk their dogs regularly are 25% less likely to be obese.
- Dog owners walk on average 23,000 miles over the lifetime of their dog.
- There are 29,339 dog walking businesses in the US.
- Dog walking services have grown 1.7% annually since 2016.
- The dog-walking market size is $979M annually.
- On average, dogs interact with other dogs 4 times during a walk.
- 20% of dog owners play with their dog 6 times a day.
- 50% of dog owners play with their dog 2 to 3 times a day.
- 41.4% of agility dogs are injured while training or competing.
- Dog owners walked 22 more minutes per day than non-owners.
The cost of treating obesity in dogs:
- Dog owners spend an average of $1,480 on their dog’s essential expenses.
- Only 4.6% of dogs in the US have pet insurance.
- 3.2 million dogs in the US are insured.
- Diabetes in dogs costs their owner an average of $900 annually.
- Arthritis costs $2,000 a year on average.
- Dental disease costs dog owners $450 annually.
- Owners of obese dogs spend 17% more on healthcare than healthy-weight dog owners.
Obesity is the most preventable disease our dogs face today.
When combating obesity in your dog, it’s essential to remember their short-term happiness isn’t worth the long-term health risks. The lifespan of an overweight dog is 2 1/2 years shorter than the lifespan of dogs who maintain a healthy weight.
The shorter lifespan caused by the excess fat your dog is carrying increases their risk of several serious diseases and health factors, including:
- heart disease
- bladder stones
- degeneration of joints
Take the first step by reading our Dog Obesity Guide. The obesity guide details everything you need to know about your dog’s weight, including exercise and diet tips.