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D2002-13

Dear Daisy Dog

Every time my dog Missy has her annual physical, my vet says she is overweight. I don’t believe she’s overweight because she looks like all the other cocker spaniels I’ve ever seen. Is there a way to know for sure?

Daisy Responds

I suspect Missy and her cocker friends are, indeed, overweight.

When you look down at her from above, she should come in at the waist and have an hour-glass figure. When you look at her from the side, her abdomen should tuck up in front of her back legs.

And when you pet her, you should easily feel her ribs and spine. If she doesn’t pass these tests, it’s time for a diet.

A recent study showed that dogs live longer, healthier lives when they are fed conservatively. Two groups of Labrador retrievers were fed the same food, but one group was fed 75% of the amount the other group ate.

The dogs fed less food lived 15% longer (nearly 2 years for the Labs in this study.) In addition, the leaner dogs had a lower incidence of arthritis – and developed it 3 years later. At age 8, the incidence of arthritis in the heavier dogs was 5 times that of the slimmer dogs.

Check www.purina.com/institute for more information on the study and how to assess your dog’s weight. Then talk with your veterinarian about starting a sensible weight loss program.

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