Results of the study, released this week, indicated that 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are overweight, with one in five of the animals being clinically obese, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
"The number of obese pets is growing," said Dr. Ernie Ward, a North Carolina veterinarian and founder of APOP. "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."
It's hard for many Americans to recognize that their pets are overweight because they, too, are overweight, Ward said.
To help pet owners understand the weight of their pet's extra pounds, Ward's organization created the "pet weight translator," which puts the weight of cats and dogs into human terms.
The tool equates each extra pound on a small dog, like a Pomeranian, to 21 extra pounds on a 5-foot-4 woman.
Vets say the solution is easy: Feed your pets less, exercise them more and they will be healthier and possibly live longer.