During the pandemic, we were all guilty of feeding our pups extra scraps at the dinner table or gifting our dogs one too many treats in a quarantined home. We were indulging, and our pets followed suit! But where in America are our pets the plumpest, and which breeds are encountering the most weight gain?
With these questions in mind, the Special Reports Team was determined to find out which in state’s pet parents are overfeeding their pups the most and which state’s parents are keeping their dogs’ diets in check.
To determine the states that are home to the plumpest pets, we conducted a survey of 2,430 pet owners across 42 U.S. states in August 2021. We asked respondents in each state to list the breed and current weight of their dog(s), then compared that number to the AKC-recommended weight chart according to each dog’s specific breed. From there, we were able to determine the average number of pounds that pets are overweight by in each individual state. Lastly, we compiled a list of the most overweight dog breeds overall.
Eight states were not included in our study—Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming—due to a low number of survey respondents in these states.
The States With the Most Overweight Pets
With a hefty average of over 18 pounds overweight, Pennsylvania is home to the plumpest pets in America. Perhaps the state dubbed “The Snack Food Capital of the World” with its enormous snack food industry has also been spoiling its pets with delicious treats, too. Pennsylvania dogs weighed over 54% above the national average.
Virginia, Wisconsin, and Georgia were neck and neck for the runner-up spots, all with an average of over 16 pounds overweight. But in the end, Virginia beat out the competition and received the second place title for plumpest pets in America, while Wisconsin and Georgia received third and fourth place.
While the national average amount overweight for all pets sat at 11.83 pounds, some states were more conservative with those extra scraps than others. Idaho pups were the least plump pets, clocking in at 6.9 pounds overweight and 42% under the national average. Maybe it’s the vast Idaho fields that pups spend their days running through, but Idaho residents are keeping their pets in line!
Missouri pet parents are also doing better than most when it comes to controlling their pup’s weight. These dogs are averaging just over seven pounds overweight, while Texas pets are trailing at 8.2 pounds overweight on average.
But while states vary on dog weights across the board, they also differ when it comes to male and female pet weights. Some states are overfeeding Fido, while some states are overindulging Fida, and interestingly enough, there’s not much overlap.
Wisconsin is not only home to the third plumpest pets overall, it’s also the plumpest state overall for male dogs. Male dogs in the Badger State are over 20 and a half pounds overweight, while Georgia male dogs trail at 20.2 pounds overweight on average. Pennsylvania, the plumpest state overall, took third place in this ranking for both male and female dogs.
However, Pennsylvania and Virginia were the only two states that ranked in the top ten for both male and female pooches.
The Most Overweight Dog Breeds, According to Pet Parents
Every breed of dog can become overweight at some point in their life, but certain breeds are more prone to packing on a few too many pounds. We wanted to further investigate the plumpest breeds overall by determining the average weight reported by all respondents and comparing that to the AKC recommended weight for each breed.
Interestingly enough, the seven plumpest breeds in our research all had one thing in common: They were all small to medium-sized. From Chihuahuas to Yorkshire Terriers to Beagles, the huskiest pets were surprisingly light. This may not be so surprising, as just a few pounds excess can be the difference between normal weight and obesity in smaller dogs.
While some breeds were just a few pounds overweight on average, others were over twice the size AKC recommends them to be. Chihuahuas, with a recommended weight of six pounds, clocked in at over 13 pounds on average!
Labrador Retrievers did not make an appearance on our list, despite being one of the top breeds prone to obesity.
Overweight Dog: Final Thoughts
Sometimes a couple of pounds won’t do much harm to a dog’s overall wellbeing, but often, excess weight can cause serious health problems.
Always check with your vet if your pooch is experiencing rapid or unexplained weight gain, and make sure you’re feeding your furry friend the right amount of food while avoiding too many treats. Exercise in the form of a nice dog walk is also a great addition to your pet’s routine. Sometimes it’s hard not to spoil our pets, but giving them the best quality of life is all the spoiling they need!