Research Proves It Yet Again: Leaner Dogs Live Longer

The simple step of not overfeeding will give you more time with your beloved pet.


© alkir | Bigstock

Several decades ago, 48 Labrador retrievers were split into two groups at birth and then followed for their entire lives. One group was always fed 25 percent fewer calories than the other. By the end of the study, the group fed less lived for a year and a half to two years longer than the other, on average. The difference: they were ideal body condition as opposed to their moderately overweight counterparts.

The research, although on a small number of dogs from just one breed, made a powerful point about the health advantages of not overfeeding. That’s why it has so often been referred to both in the research literature and the popular press.

Now, a new study out just this year, which looked at more than 50,000 dogs in 12 different breeds including Chihuahuas and German shepherds and every size breed in between, has made the same finding: dogs of healthy weight live longer than those that are overweight.

The greatest differences in lifespan were seen between healthy weight and overweight dogs of small breeds. Healthy weight male Yorkshire terriers, for instance, lived an average of 16.2 years as opposed to 13.7 years for overweight male Yorkies. Male cocker spaniels of ideal body weight lived 14.9 years, while their heavier brethren lived an average of just 13.4 years.

The research was not as rigorously controlled as the earlier research on the Labrador retrievers. But even so, with 50,000+ dogs, the results are hard to dismiss.

Keep in mind that much of the reason dogs want food from their owners is for attention. If you give attention by brushing your pet, playing with him, walking him more often, and generally interacting with him more, he will be just as happy.


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