Scientists at Cambridge University say genetics may cause some dog breeds, such as the Labrador retriever, to overeat.
A specific gene, POMC, was found to be strongly linked to weight, obesity and appetite in Labradors and flat-coated retrievers. In both breeds, for each copy of the gene carried, the dog was on average 2kg heavier.
“About a quarter of pet Labradors carry this gene” difference, lead researcher, Dr. Eleanor Raffan, told the BBC.
“Although obesity is the consequence of eating more than you need and more than you burn off in exercise, actually there’s some real hard-wired biology behind our drive to eat,” she added.
2016 data from Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, showed that pet obesity is on the rise for the fifth straight year. In 2014, Nationwide members filed more than $54 million in pet insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity, a 10% growth over the past two years.
In 2009, a Labrador was named the UK’s best slimming pet by a veterinary charity after shedding 22 pounds. Keano, from Plymouth, England, UK, was so overweight at 101.4 pounds, he could not roll over on his back before joining the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) contest.
From the section Science & Environment The Labrador retriever, known as one of the greediest breeds of dog, is hard-wired to overeat, research suggests. The dog is more likely to become obese than other breeds partly because of its genes, scientists at Cambridge University say.
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