A recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association confirmed the importance of keeping our pets lean. This study followed two groups of Labrador Retrievers over 14 years. The control group was allowed to eat as much as they wanted during 15 minute daily feedings. The lean-fed group was fed 25% less than the first group, though both were fed the same foods.

The most striking finding of this study was that the median life span of the lean-fed group was 1.8 years longer (15%) than that of the control group. Dr. Dennis Lawler, one of the authors of the study, summed up the important findings of this study: “What we have learned from this study is that feeding less does not necessarily change what health problems dogs encounter, or what, ultimately, causes their death. What it does change is when this occurs.”  This study underlines the importance of avoiding overfeeding our pets. As much as we love them and want to spoil them with treats and extra food, in the long run this may cause much more harm. Instead, we should show them how much we love them by spending time playing with them or taking them on a walk. This special attention will be both beneficial in the short term, and may even prolong their life. If your pet is overweight, the best plan for trimming the excess weight is to cut back on the amount they are fed and increase the amount they exercise.

Deborah Crippen
Lakeside Pet Hospital