WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- If your dog becomes overweight, it may be at risk of dying younger, according to a study out Friday on the negative effect of being overweight on the lifespan of pet dogs.
Researchers looked at data on a range of popular dog breeds from across the United States and found that dogs that are overweight in middle age have a shorter life expectancy than ideal weight dogs.
What's more, the study found overweight dogs suffered a reduction in life expectancy of up to ten months compared to ideal weight dogs.
"We saw that overweight dogs tend to have a shorter life expectancy. This was particularly pronounced in five breeds -- Labrador, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever and Beagle," lead scientist Carina Salt, of the WALTHAM Center for Pet Nutrition in England, said in a statement.
The research used data on the body condition of male and female neutered dogs aged between 6.5 and 8.5 years from 10 popular breeds.
The findings highlight the importance of maintaining dogs at a healthy body weight throughout life, said the researchers.
"This is the first reported research of its kind looking specifically at a large number of pet dogs. The findings therefore provide important insights into the risks of being overweight for dogs in the general population", Salt said. "Being overweight in middle age can have long-term consequences and, depending on breed, mean a reduction in life span of between one and ten months."
The findings were presented at a nutritional sciences symposium taking place from Tuesday in Portland, Oregon.