Lean Dogs Live Longer
Research shows that lean dogs live longer, healthier lives.
A 2002 study put 48 Labrador Retrievers into pairs, feeding one dog 25% less food than the other. This was done for the entire lifespan of the dogs - so the study went for over 14 years! It’s obviously very expensive to conduct research for decades, which is why we don’t have many studies like this. But the results are eye opening.
The study found that compared to the control dog (the “normally” fed dog), the food restricted dog weighed less and had lower body fat content. That makes sense, less food means less dog.
But here’s the kicker - the median life span was significantly longer for the dogs that were lean. And better yet, the onset of chronic disease was massively delayed for the diet restricted dogs.
By age 10, seven control dogs had died compared to only three lean dogs. By age 12, only one control dog survived compared to eleven lean dogs. That is absolutely astonishing, and the best motivator I can think of to keep the weight off your dog!
The study concluded that the amount you feed does not change the health problems your dog experiences (at least for kibble), but can have a dramatic effect in delaying health problems and increasing the life of your beloved dog. These findings have been confirmed by a 2014 study which also shows that quality nutrition and lean body mass increase the lifespan of dogs.
These are the first studies of their kind in large mammals, so it’s entirely possible that these conclusions would apply to humans as well - so put down the chicken wing!
And please don’t over-feed you dog - the science says lean dogs live longer.