By Chelsea Karnash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Much like their human counterparts, many pets are packing on the pounds.

In the fifth annual study done by the Association for Pet Obesity (APOP), a survey of the nation’s pets found that 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats are overweight or obese, according to their veterinarians. And that means that 88.4 million pets are too heavy.

Veterinarians say that ‘fat pet gap,’ or the normalization of obesity by pet owners, is problematic. Twenty-two-percent of dog owners and 15% of cat owners viewed their pet as normal weight when in reality, that pet was overweight or obese.

Vets also say that calorie-packed treats are part of the problem. They recommend feeding your pet single-ingredient rewards or fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli, string beans or other crunch veggies in place of processed, store-bought treats.

Much like obesity in humans, pet obesity causes a multitude of health problems for animals, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, kidney disease and shortened life expectancy.

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