In America dogs fed 25% less lived longer and chronic diseases started later

In America dogs feed 25% less lived longer and chronic diseases started later.
In America dogs feed 25% less lived longer and chronic diseases started later. Image: MikeB (Canva).

Scientists have revealed that dogs on a diet which reduced food intake by 25% noticeably increased their average lifespan and, in addition, the permanent diet delayed the onset of signs of chronic disease. The study strongly indicates that companion dogs should be on a 25% restriction in food intake. Does this imply that dogs are being fed too much and are often overweight in the US? That seems to be the implication.

It might be noteworthy to state that the study took place in America where there is an obesity epidemic among people and I suspect among dogs and certainly among domestic cats. The study was published on 1 May 2002, so quite a long time ago. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of 25% diet restriction on the health of these dogs.

They conducted the study by pairing dogs off. One dog in each pair was fed 25% less food than their pair-mate from eight weeks of age until their death in a remarkable study in terms of its duration.

The scientists performed serum biochemical analysis, body condition scoring and body composition measurements annually until 12 years of age. The age of onset of chronic disease and the average age and maximum age of the dogs were evaluated. I have taken the word “median” to mean “average” in this instance.

The scientists stated that, “Age at onset of chronic disease and median (age when 50% of the dogs were deceased) and maximum (age when 90% of the dogs were deceased) life spans were evaluated.”

They say that:

“Compared with control dogs food-restricted dogs weighed less and had lower body fat content and lower serum triglycerides, triiodothyronine, insulin, and glucose concentrations. Median life span was significantly longer for dogs in which food was restricted. The onset of clinical signs of chronic disease generally was delayed for food-restricted dogs.”

Study – Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. Link: https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.2002.220.1315

The conclusions were those that I stayed in the opening sentence.

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