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Feeding pet dogs just once a day might keep them healthier as they age

A Jack Russell Terrier puppy sits behind an empty food bowl

A pet ready to be fed

Shutterstock / Gladskikh Tatiana

Dogs fed once a day are much less more likely to be recognized with age-related situations than dogs fed extra usually, in line with an evaluation of surveys accomplished by 24,000 house owners of pet dogs.

For now, canine house owners ought to stick to their present regime, says Matt Kaeberlein on the University of Washington in Seattle. “Based on this study, we are not recommending that people make a change in the way they are feeding their dogs.”

In 2019, Kaeberlein helped set up the Dog Aging Project to review the genetic and environmental causes of ageing in dogs and different animals, together with individuals. Any canine proprietor within the US can participate by filling in a survey once a yr.

There is a few proof that intermittent fasting can sluggish ageing in some animals, such as mice. Kaeberlein analysed the challenge knowledge to see if dogs fed once a day have been kind of more likely to be recognized with numerous classes of age-related situations, from cancers to the canine equal of dementia, than these fed extra usually.

In most circumstances, dogs fed once per day have been considerably much less more likely to have had such a analysis. “In my view, it’s pretty compelling correlative evidence,” says Kaeberlein.

However, the research hasn’t established causation, he says. The complete quantity that a canine eats, slightly than how usually it eats, might clarify the correlation. Dogs fed twice a day or extra might be extra more likely to be overweight, for example.

The challenge crew plans to ask house owners how a lot their dogs eat and whether or not they are overweight. But measuring caloric consumption precisely is difficult to do in surveys, says Kaeberlein. Ideally, the crew wish to perform a trial involving switching some dogs to once-a-day-feeding to see if it impacts their well being.

“The strength of the study is that numbers are large and the statistical methods are sound,” says Alex German on the University of Liverpool within the UK. But it additionally has many weaknesses, he says, and he “strongly agrees that people shouldn’t change the way they feed their dogs until further studies are done.”

The recommendation at the moment given by many organisations is to feed dogs twice a day. If additional research affirm that once-a-day feeding is healthier no matter how a lot dogs eat total, it might result in a change on this recommendation, says Kaeberlein.

Once-a-day-feeding might be helpful just for dogs given their evolutionary historical past as hunters, says Kaeberlein – their wolf ancestors usually went for days with out consuming. But time-restricted feeding might additionally show to be helpful for different animals, together with individuals, he says.

The Dog Aging Project is looking for extra members and hopes to go worldwide in 2022, says Kaeberlein.

Journal reference: bioRxiv, DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.08.467616

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