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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
Dave T
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Lean machines

Eating less results in longer lives, a 14-year CU dog-diet study confirms
From the “Cornell Chronicle”, December 12, 2002 - By Lissa Harris
Seventy years after a classic Cornell nutritional study
showed that cutting rations dramatically prolongs rats' lives,
nutrition scientists have come up with even more evidence
of the benefit of slender diets:
A recently completed 14-year study found that
dogs forced to eat 25 percent less than their
littermates of the same balanced diet lived
significantly longer and suffered fewer canine
In an age of increasing incidence of obesity among
Americans, "maybe it's time we watched what the rats and
the dogs are eating," advises George Lust, a Cornell
professor of veterinary medicine and a collaborator in the
experiment with dogs, sponsored by the Nestlé Purina Pet
Care Co.
A specialist in bone and joint diseases in animals, Lust saw
the underfed dogs incurring much less canine hip dysplasia
(CHD) and subsequent osteoarthritis, compared with dogs
that were fed the portions indicated on the pet food
The dogs on reduced rations also lived nearly two
years longer.
In animal nutritionist Clive McCay's 1930s' demonstration
of the power of portion control on health, rats on an
experimentally reduced diet lived half again as long as rats
on "normal" diets. His findings with rats are well known to
every nutritionist, but determining the implications for
human health has remained a challenge. The dog study
comes closer, providing the strongest evidence yet that diet
restriction confers benefits of health and longevity on larger
While the benefits of diet reduction have been
demonstrated in animals from chickens to single-celled
organisms, dogs are our closest evolutionary
relatives in which a reduced diet definitively has
been shown to enhance health and lengthen life.
The ambitious dog study was led by researchers at Nestlé
Purina, and included scientists at Cornell, the University of
Illinois, Michigan State University and the University of
Pennsylvania. Results of the study were published in the
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in
The study also was the focus of a September symposium in
St. Louis, sponsored by Nestlé Purina, called "Advancing
Life Through Diet Restriction."
In the study, 24 pairs of Labrador retriever siblings between
6 and 8 weeks of age -- matched by sex and weight-- were
selected, with one of each pair assigned to eat 25 percent
less food than its sibling.
The dogs were a part of the study from the time
they were weaned until they died, and their
health was closely monitored throughout their
The median age of dogs in the reduced-diet group, the
researchers found, was 13 years -- 1.8 years longer
than the median age of dogs fed a normal diet.
As a result of genetic factors, Labradors are predisposed to
develop CHD and osteoarthritis. Lust, a professor of
physiological chemistry at the James A. Baker Institute for
Animal Health at Cornell, followed the development of the
disease in the 48 dogs in the study. He found striking effects
of diet on the progression of the disease, even in young
"It was dramatic. In the control group of 24
dogs -- the well-fed dogs -- 16 had CHD at 2
years of age, and eight were normal," Lust said.
"Of the 24 dogs in the restricted diet group,
only eight had CHD and 16 were normal."
The reduced diet also was found to reduce the risk of
developing osteoarthritis, which generally results from CHD
and is one of the most common sources of chronic pain
treated by veterinarians. It is also the most common form of
arthritis in humans, affecting over 20 million people in the
United States.
Only six dogs on the reduced diet developed
osteoarthritis of the hip by age 10, while 19 of
the dogs in the control group developed the
condition. And for dogs with CHD and on
reduced rations, the diet decreased the odds of
developing osteoarthritis by 57 percent.
Similar studies involving primates are under way at the
University of Wisconsin. Because of the long life span of
monkeys, however, it will be years before the results of
those studies are known.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 11:57 AM
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Very interesting!


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 06:53 PM
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So many good reasons to not let your dog get overweight!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 06:41 AM
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Absolutely! It's a lean horse for a long race, and the same is true for dogs. ... And it is SO easy to let the weight creep up on a fluffy dog, because you can't see it. And even feeling them regularly, when YOU are the one who always does it, it's hard to track subtle changes.

I weigh Kodi at the vet's office every 6-8 weeks, and try to keep him RIGHT at 17 lbs. 16 1/2 and he's REALLY boney, and at 18, he's clearly got to much chub over the rib cage. Pixel isn't a big eater, and she's a bit skinny, so I don't have to worry about her weight yet. panda is still growing, so it's normal that she's a little rounder. But I suspect she will be like Kodi, and I'll need to keep an eye on her weight.
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