Study finds overweight dogs live shorter lives.

Although this is a New Research published Feb 13, 2019, it’s not new news.

Pets, like people, have a shorter lifespan if overweight.


But let’s see the research:

Banfield Pet Hospital found that the lifespan of overweight dogs was, on average, up to 2 1/2 years shorter than the lifespan of dogs with a healthy body weight. Not only are we stealing their years, but we are doing this to so many pets.  In fact, it is shown that 1 out of 3 dogs and cats are overweight.

For an average dog, that is over 20% of their lives taken away.

The study showed that overweight dogs overall are more likely to have shorter lives than those at ideal body weights. The study was conducted retrospectively over two decades and published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Researchers examined records for more than 50,000 neutered, client-owned male and female dogs. Dogs were aged between 6 1/2 and 8 1/2 years across 12 popular dog breeds.

Vet examining dog

The correlation between being overweight and reduced lifespan was seen in all 12 breeds.

The enormity of the reduced years differed, ranging from five months for male German Shepherd Dogs to 2 1/2 years for male Yorkshire Terriers.

“These results emphasize the need for veterinarians to implement steps to prevent the development of obesity in dogs under their care.”

Veterinarians could use the study findings with new puppy owners to highlight the health risks of overweight dogs. There is a very real need for prevention as obesity is a preventable condition.

These findings may be used when discussing the problems of weight with owners of already-obese dogs. Implementing a weight loss programme may give a dog years back on his life.


But what can you do?

Although the study is used to help veterinarians discuss obesity risks with pet-owners, the responsibility is not just up to veterinarians.

Pet owners carry this responsibility directly.

We decide on whether we want to have a pet or not. Similarly, we decide on its food, exercise routine and well being.

Obesity in pets in now regarded as a “disease” and many of us sigh with relief and go to their vet asking “okay then, give me a pill to sort this out”.  This is not fair to the vet or to your doggo!

Obesity is rather a result that is entirely preventable. Lucky for us, it is reversible too.

Go to your vet if you are having trouble with pet obesity.  Get a full check to ensure hormones etc are okay and balanced.  Then start taking steps to give your dog back his years. Not only are we responsible for providing their full years to our pets. These years must be enjoyable too!

A healthy, fit, conditioned, lean pet is in less pain, moves more, runs more, sleeps better, is better not only physically but mentally and emotionally too. Feed them right and look after them.  They deserve our best!

Actually, our pets are a lot like us in this regard. Look after them.




Association between life span and body condition in neutered client-owned dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine

JAVMA: Banfield finds 1 in 3 dogs and cats are overweight


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!