If you thought that obesity affects only humans, you may be wrong. It can also shorten the lives of your canine friends, finds research.
The research, from the University of Liverpool in the UK, reveals that the lifespan of overweight dogs was up to two-and-half years shorter when compared to ideal-weight dogs.
“Owners are often unaware that their dog is overweight, and many may not realise the impact that it can have on their health,” said Alex German, Professor at the university.
“What they may not know is that if their beloved pet is too heavy, they are more likely to suffer from other problems such as joint disease, breathing issues, and certain types of cancer, as well as having a poorer quality of life. These health and well-being issues can significantly impact how long they live,” he added.
The study, published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, examined more than 50,000 dogs across 12 of the most popular dog breeds.
Although the study did not examine the reasons behind the extra pounds in dogs, feeding habits are thought to play a role in pet obesity.
According to a recent Better Cities For Pets survey, more than half (54 per cent) of cat and dog owners always or often give their pet food if they beg for it, and nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of cat and dog owners sometimes overfeed their pet to keep them happy.
“For many owners, giving food, particularly tasty table scraps and tidbits, is the way we show affection for our pets,” German said.
“Being careful about what you feed your dog could go a long way to keeping them in good shape and enabling them to be around for many years to come,” he noted.