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Purina® conducted the first-ever canine lifetime diet restriction study and showed that dogs maintained in lean body condition throughout their lives can extend their medial life span by 15 percent – 1.8 years – for the Labrador Retrievers in the study. Our veterinary nutritionist will explain what this means when it comes to feeding your own dog.

“We all know that obesity, whether in humans or canines, is generally bad for health," says Dennis Lawler, PURINA scientist and lead study investigator. "What's exciting about this study is that, for the first time in a large mammal, we have shown scientifically that by simply feeding to maintain ideal body condition throughout a dog's life, we can increase the length of life while delaying the visible signs of aging. That's powerful stuff."

The 14-year study, which was started when the dogs were 8-weeks old, compared 48 Labrador Retrievers. Dogs were assigned to a control or lean-fed group. All the dogs ate the same 100 percent nutritionally complete and balanced diets for the entire study. The control group was allowed to eat an unlimited amount of food during the 15-minute daily feedings. Dogs in the lean-fed group were fed 25 percent less than the amount eaten by their littermates.

Median life span was increased by 1.8 years, or 15 percent, in the lean-fed dogs compared to the control dogs. Median life span – the age at which 50 percent of the dogs in the group had died – was 11.2 years in the control group, compared to 13.0 years in the lean-fed group. The study showed that the lean-fed dogs maintained a significantly leaner body condition from six to 12 years of age than the control group dogs. On average, the lean-fed group weighed less, had lower body fat, and after a certain age, experienced a two-year delay in the loss of lean body mass as they aged, as compared to the control group dogs.

“In addition, according to observations of the researchers, the control dogs exhibited more visible signs of aging, such as greying muzzles, impaired gaits and reduced activity, at an earlier age than the lean-fed dogs." To learn more, visit

Find the right food to keep your dog at an ideal body condition with our expert recommendation from myPLAN.