Public Release: 

Overweight dogs have a shorter life expectancy

New research highlights the negative effect of being overweight on the lifespan of pet dogs

APCO Worldwide

Portland, Ore., USA (October 4, 2013) --- Being overweight shortens a dog's life expectancy according to new research by the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition. Data on a range of popular dog breeds from across the USA showed that dogs that are overweight in middle age have a shorter life expectancy than ideal weight dogs. Specifically, overweight dogs were found to suffer a reduction in life expectancy of up to ten months compared to ideal weight dogs. Being overweight in middle age can have potentially far-reaching consequences for a dog's life span, highlighting the importance of maintaining dogs at a healthy body weight throughout life.

The research examined the impact of body condition score on the life expectancy of a broad range of popular breeds. "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", commented lead scientist Carina Salt, WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition.

"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", added Carina Salt. "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 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. There were on average 546 dogs per breed and data were collected by veterinarians during consultations across the network of Banfield Pet Hospital® locations in the USA.

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This study was conducted by scientists from the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition -- the state-of-the-art science institute for Mars Petcare -- in collaboration with Banfield Pet Hospital®. It forms part of a wider body of ongoing collaborative research aimed at understanding the causes and consequences of pet obesity. The findings were presented at the WALTHAM® International Nutritional Sciences Symposium (WINSS), taking place from 1 October in Portland, Oregon, USA. WINSS brings together leading experts in the fields of nutritional and veterinary science to address critical issues relating to human and pet care.

About the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition

Celebrating 50 years of innovative science, the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition serves as a leading scientific authority in advancing the frontiers of research into the nutrition and health of companion animals. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute for Mars Petcare generates knowledge that enables the development of innovative products that meet pets' needs in a practical way. Since the publication of its first original research in 1963, WALTHAM® has pioneered many important breakthroughs in the field of pet nutrition and human-animal interaction, resulting in more than 1,700 publications, including over 600 peer-review scientific papers. Today, WALTHAM® continues to collaborate with the world's foremost scientific institutes, driving Mars Petcare's Vision to make A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS® and providing the science and expertise that underpins leading Mars Petcare brands such as WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®, NUTRO®, TRILL®, CESAR®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES®, AQUARIAN®, WINERGY®, BANFIELD Pet Hospital® and the ROYAL CANIN® brand.

About Mars, Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars' first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a "mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders" -- this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 72,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.

Mars brands include: Petcare - PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, BANFIELD Pet Hospital®, NUTRO®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and CESAR®; Chocolate - M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley - DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food - UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks - ALTERRA ® Coffee Roasterscoffee, THE BRIGHT TEA CO.® tea, DOVE®/GALAXY® Hot Chocolate, and FLAVIA® brewer; Symbioscience - COCOAVIA®, WISDOM PANEL® and SERAMIS®.

For more information, please visit http://www.mars.com. Follow us: facebook.com/mars, twitter.com/marsglobal, youtube.com/mars.

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