A new study suggests that overweight dogs are more likely to live shorter lives than those with body weights closer to ideal.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool and Mars Petcare’s Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, compared the lifespans of overweight dogs with those of dogs with ideal weights. The researchers found that overweight dogs lived an average of 2.5 years shorter than their lighter counterparts. The effects were seen across a sample of over 50,000 dogs and 12 breeds.
The results of the study come amid a pet obesity epidemic. Within the United States, more than half of domestic cats and dogs are overweight. What’s more, 20% of dogs and 30% of cats are obese.
“Owners are often unaware that their dog is overweight, and many may not realize the impact that it can have on health. What they may not know is that, if their beloved pet is too heavy, they are more likely to suffer from other problems such as joint disease, breathing issues, and certain types of cancer, as well as having a poorer quality of life. These health and wellbeing issues can significantly impact how long they live.”
— Alex German, Professor of Small Animal Medicine, University of Liverpool
The full results of the study can be found in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine.