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The Canine Nutritionist

Overweight Dogs Live Shorter Lives

by | Weight Management | 0 comments


Some of us have always known in our heart of hearts that overweight dogs live shorter lives. Now we know for sure.

A 20-year, retrospective study carried out by Liverpool University and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition showed that overweight dogs had a lifespan up to 2 1/2 years shorter than dogs with a healthy body weight.

The study used data provided by Banfield Pet Hospital, a veterinary group of more then 1,000 Mars Incorporated-owned clinics in the United Kingdom, the United States and Mexico. It involved the records of 50,787 family owned male and female pedigree dogs of 12 of our most popular breeds.


Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, American Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Boxers, Chihuahuas, Pit Bull Terriers, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers were used in the study. Without exception, dogs with an ideal body weight outlived their overweight breed counterparts.

Unsurprisingly, smaller breed dogs were the winners because they tend to live longer lives anyway.

In the case of Dachshunds, Beagles, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas, the difference was more than 2 years.

The outright winner was the male Yorkshire Terrier with a 2 1/2 year longer lifespan than overweight male Yorkshire Terriers. Even larger breed dogs though lived many months longer than their overweight counterparts.


The Royal Veterinary College confirms that obese dogs have shorter lifespans, reduced quality of life and higher frequencies of arthritis, respiratory problems, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Book a Weight Management Consultation Now.


What this particular study didn’t take into account was another absolute certainty. That overweight dogs also live unhealthier, less enjoyable lives.

It’s a known fact that being overweight or obese increases a dog’s chances of developing certain forms of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, digestive and respiratory problems.

It stands to reason that any overweight dog is not going to enjoy life as much as a dog of normal weight. Health problems not withstanding, an overweight or obese dog is simply not going to have the freedom of movement enjoyed by normal weight dogs. Play and exercise, so important to any dog, are going to be seriously impacted if a dog is carrying too much timber. Excess weight on hardworking joints naturally means that mobility is going to be affected as movement becomes more painful.

Sadly though, overweight dogs have become the norm today. So many doting pet parents simply fail to realise that their dog is overweight since overweight dogs are in the majority today.


If you need my assistance with helping your best friend lose weight, please contact me for a life-changing Weight Loss Consultation.

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


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