Being overweight shortens a dog's life expectancy, according to new research by Mars Petcare and Banfield Pet Hospital's Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. The new research shows the consequences for dogs being overweight and highlights the importance of pet owners maintaining their dog at a healthy weight.
Data on a range of popular dog breeds from across the US showed that dogs that are overweight in middle age have a shorter life expectancy than ideal-weight dogs. Specifically, overweight dogs were found to suffer a reduction in life expectancy of up to 10 months compared to ideal-weight dogs.
"We examined a broad range of popular breeds of all shapes and sizes and found that overweight dogs tend to have a shorter life expectancy. This was particularly pronounced in five breeds - Labrador, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever and Beagle," said lead scientist at the Waltham Centre, Carina Salt. "In order to ensure the findings were representative of dogs in the family home, we used data from a large number of pet dogs collected during visits to their veterinarian. The research highlights the very real consequences of being overweight for dogs in the family home. Key tips for combating excess weight and keeping your dog fit and healthy include carefully controlling food portions in line with the pack feeding guidelines, regular exercise appropriate for your dog's needs and regular weighing sessions. Owners concerned about their dog's weight should speak to a veterinarian."
Data were collected on normal and overweight dogs from 10 popular breeds, ranging in age from 6.5 to 8.5 year. The data were collected by veterinarians during consultations across the network of more than 830 Banfield Pet Hospital locations in the US.