Weighing in on America’s Pet Obesity Problem

. 4 min read

We’ve got a BIG pup problem on our hands in the United States. A whopping 60% of dogs (and cats!) in the United States are overweight as a result of poor pup nutrition and miseducation, something Ollie seeks to put an end to by providing properly portioned and well-balanced fresh food.

In light of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day (October 9th) Ollie teamed up with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance to talk to pet parents and get the full scoop on obesity in dogs and cats — what they know and where we can help fill in the blanks.

What are the signs your pet is overweight?

According to our survey of 550 pet parents, only 10% believed that less than 1 in 4 pets are overweight. Similarly, we found that only 14% of Ollie pet parents think their dog is overweight and in need of weight management plan,  when the reality is that 45% of Ollie's small dog pack is already overweight. These disconnects draw attention to the fact that many pet parents are in the dark about how much their pet should weigh and what signs to look for in their pets.

Some of the signs your pet might be putting on too much weight include lower energy levels and desire to play, difficulty finding and feeling their ribs, and a low-hanging belly — particularly in smaller dogs.

What are the major risks of obesity in dogs and cats?

For those of us with pudgy pets at home, it’s easy to accept their lazy loaf status as personality quirks, but with more at stake than just a fit figure, it’s time to shape up our pets. Overweight pets have a higher risk of developing chronic ailments and diseases including joint pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease.

Long story short, establishing healthy eating habits early on for your pet can prevent a lot of heartache down the road. So when evaluating the cost of your pet’s food, consider the pricey vet bills that can be avoided by opting for a portioned and nutritionally balanced food like Ollie’s custom meal plan for dogs.

"What’s contributing to the problem is these one-size-fits-all meal plans of highly-processed food made with questionable ingredients. Studies show that dogs who eat freshly cooked food–like Ollie–can live up to three years longer. And who doesn’t want that for our four-legged best friend?”  - Gabby Slome, Co-founder of Ollie

How can you get an overweight pet back on track?

So, you’ve identified the signs and understood the risks of obesity in your pet, but what’s next? Booking an appointment with your vet can be a simple, yet crucial first step according to Rob Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Healthy Paws. “We encourage pet parents to talk to their vets about their pet’s weight. Learn what that healthy range is for your pet and, if your pet is overweight, work with your vet to create a weight management program, which can include a more balanced diet, exercise and more.”

At the time of our survey, more than half of the pet parents had already taken steps to address weight issues with their vet. However, of this same group, 68% reported their pets got less than one hour of exercise per day — a statistic that shows a majority of the parents are aware that their pet needs to shed some pounds, but may or may not know how to take action. Beyond a structured nutrition plan, longer and more frequent walks, active play or playdates can help reverse some of the effects of excess weight gain.

Tipping the scales with Ollie

Balance has always been the secret ingredient in Ollie’s dog food. Each recipe is created under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist to ensure they contain the proper nutrient levels for dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds, and activity levels. Since starting on Ollie’s fresh food diet, 42% of overweight pups have already shown progress towards their weight goals.

Is your dog in need of a fresh start? Get them back on track with Ollie’s fresh, healthy food. Tell us a little bit about your pup today and we’ll create a custom, portioned meal plan just for them.

Content created in partnership with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Healthy Paws is one of the leading pet insurance program providers in the U.S. for dogs and cats, and is ranked #1 by customers on leading review websites.