Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
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The 2020 Healthy Pets, Healthy Families Initiative





Obesity is a major human health issue in the United States. As it turns out, our pets are following in our footsteps and obesity is becoming a growing problem in animals too. In fact, about 50% of dogs and cats in the US are overweight or obese1. Researchers even believe that there is a link between obesity in humans and dogs2. This means that we are passing our bad habits onto our pets. The good side of this relationship is that pets can also play a big part in helping us lose weight3.


Facts about human & pet obesity in Los Angeles County (LAC):


  • About 50% of people in LAC are considered overweight4

  • Just like people, major causes of obesity in pets include lack of exercise and improper diet:

    • Pets that are free-fed (meaning the food is left out all day for them to feed) will often eat more than they need

  • Few pet owners can recognize if their pet is overweight5 - If you can't feel your pet's ribs, it's time to feed less

  • Obesity in both people and pets can put them at risk of: diabetes, arthritis or heart disease6


What you can do to reduce obesity in you and your pet:


  • Talk to your veterinarian about pet obesity 

  • Make sure you feed your pet an appropriate diet:

    • Consult your veterinarian first before you put your pet on a diet

    • Avoid feeding table scraps or people food

    • Feed the right amount. Read the pet food label to see how much your pet needs

  • Exercise with your pet:

    • Before you start exercising with your pet, make sure to talk to your veterinarian first

    • Just like us, the recommended daily exercise requirement for dogs is 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day

    • Running, jogging or hiking with your dog is great way to loose weight together

What Veterinary Public Health (VPH) and our partners do to promote weight loss in both animals and people in LAC:

As part of our 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families (HPHF) initiative, we want to promote increased awareness on issues related to animal obesity. This means making sure pet owners know how to recognize if their dog or cat is overweight.

Pets can provide a great motivation for people to go outside and get their daily recommended exercise - it's good for animals and it's good for people.

One of our main project with HPHF is to foster the creation of dog-friendly community walking groups throughout LAC. If you are interested being a leader for such a group, feel free to contact us at the e-mail address on the left.

More useful information about pet obesity:

Walking For Health flyer, Keeping you and your dog fit - English/Español pdf logo


Exercising with your pet around Los Angeles County:

Dog Friendly Trails (

Dog Friendly Trails (

Local Dog Parks (

How to tell if your pet is overweight: Dogs & Cats (Purina)

YouTube video - Obesity and your Pet (American Veterinary Medical Association)

Information about Pet Obesity (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention)

Dog Weight Loss Coach


Last updated: May 14, 2015

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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