Quality of life improves when obese dogs shed excess weight

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have published the results of a study into the quality of life of obese dogs in The Veterinary Journal.

The researchers tracked various quality of life indicators with the owners of 50 dogs who were classified as obese.  These dogs were of various breeds and a mixture of males and females.   The same questionnaire was repeated once the dogs went through a weight loss programme (for the dogs that were successful in losing weight, and those that were not).

Photo courtesy of University of Liverpool

The vitality scores for the dogs that lost weight increased and their scores for emotional disturbance and pain decreased. The more body fat that the dogs lost, the greater their improvement in vitality.

Some people may think ‘these results are a no-brainer’ but in veterinary and other clinical medicine fields, the norm is ‘evidence-based medicine.’  That is, practitioners like veterinarians want results from research that is measurable and defensible when applying or recommending treatments.

Since obesity is linked to problems with the heart, arthritis and other conditions, research likes this helps to underpin the importance of the healthy weight message.

The same basic principles for weight loss in dogs apply to humans:  use portion control, increase exercise and activity, and eat healthy foods.

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