Pet Nutrition in People Terms: Weight Gain

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PetMD Editorial
Published: October 01, 2012

Pet Obesity is Downright Dangerous

By Amanda Baltazar

Sadly, like us, our dogs and cats are expanding their waistlines year after year. Why? One reason is we don't always grasp how much smaller our pets are when compared to us. Fortunately has developed a calculator to stack up your dog or cat's weight gain to that of a woman. Simply select your pet's breed and the number of pounds she's gained and it will give you the human equivalent based on a 125-lb. woman.


“Humans almost always anthropomorphize their pet, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point Pet Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association. “If you can compare them in a real world way and how it compares to us, that will go a long way towards helping an owner see the reality of what’s going on.”


Here are 10 real world examples of how just a few extra pounds can be disastrous to your pet.

1. Golden Retriever

An additional 7 lbs. of weight on your golden retriever — around 10 percent of his body weight — is roughly equivalent to 12.5 lbs. on you. This pooch could be damaging his joints, bones, and ligaments with the extra fat.

2. Beagle

Just 5 extra pounds — the weight of an average bag of sugar — on your beagle is the equivalent of 20 lbs. in human terms. More weight typically means a shorter life as this dog’s heart has to work much harder.


A mere 2 lbs of extra weight on a sophisticated Siamese cat that weighs 10 lbs. is tantamount to you gaining a whopping 25 lbs. This poor kitty’s setting herself up for diabetes.

4. Persian

If your Persian tabby gains just 1 lb. — the weight of most typical household cans — it’s roughly the equivalent of you gaining 11 lbs. A little more exercise and fewer calories should put you both on the right track.

5. Chihuahua

If a tiny 4-lb. Chihuahua gains a mere pound, it’s actually bad news: It’s about the same as you gaining 31 lbs. Both humans and dogs are liable to suffer from increased blood pressure from such a gain, putting themselves at the risk of heart disease.

6. Boston Terrier

An average Boston Terrier gaining 4 lbs. is a much weight gain as a 125-lb. woman gaining 26 lbs. — or one-fifth of the body weight for each. An overweight dog can have digestive problems including constipation and flatulence, which is also unpleasant for her human owners!


A 6-lb. Singapura cat that eats enough to add 2 lbs. of weight is roughly the equivalent of a woman gaining a massive 41 lbs. Time to cut the portion sizes or risk putting her — and other cats like her — on a fast track to diabetes, arthritis and heart problems.

8. American Shorthair

An American Shorthair cat whose weight jumped by 3 lbs. would be seeing the same kind of gains as a human gaining 27 lbs. Overweight cats can suffer from fatty liver syndrome (hepatic lipidosis) which means their liver functions poorly and they may even suffer liver failure.

9. Maine Coon

A typical 17-lb. Maine Coon gaining 4 lbs. of body weight would be seeing the same increase as a human who gained 29 lbs. This cat is setting herself up for a potential heart attack.

10. Great Dane

A trusty great Dane is human-sized, at least in its weight, so 7 lbs. extra of weight for him are about the same for his owner. However, too much weight is still bad for Great Danes. In fact, it is believed to make dogs more susceptible to certain cancers amongst other health conditions.