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Overweight Dogs Linked to Shorter Lifespans

Update Date: Oct 04, 2013 01:38 PM EDT

A dog's life often reflects that of their owner's. Dogs with lazy owners might not get all the walks they need to keep a healthy weight. A new study reveals, just like humans, being overweight can negatively affect canine health.

New research reveals that being overweight shortens dog's life expectancy. Researchers looked at data on a range of popular dog breeds from across the United States and found that dogs that are overweight in middle age have a shorter life expectancy than ideal weight dogs.

"We saw 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," lead researcher Carina Salt of WALTHAM® Center for Pet Nutrition, said in a news release.

The study also found that overweight dogs had a reduction in life expectancy of up to ten months compared to ideal weight dogs

"This is the first reported research of its kind looking specifically at a large number of pet dogs. The findings therefore provide important insights into the risks of being overweight for dogs in the general population," Salt added. "Being overweight in middle age can have long-term consequences and, depending on breed, mean a reduction in life span of between one and ten months."

Researchers said the latest findings highlight the importance of maintaining dogs at a healthy body weight throughout life.

The latest study involved data from male and female neutered dogs aged between 6.5 and 8.5 years from 10 popular breeds. Researchers said there were on average 546 dogs per breed, and the data used in the study were collected by veterinarians during consultations across pet clinic locations in the United States.

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