We all love our Labradors and we have all wondered why their lives are so short — leaving us heartbroken when it is time to let them go.
Two recent researches answer every dog lover’s question: How to prolong my beloved Lab’s life?
Decreased Calorie Intake
In the first study, 48 Labrador Retriever puppies from 7 litters were separated into 24 pairs based on their gender and weight at weaning. A dog from each pair was randomly assigned to be the control, while the other was fed 25% less than what the control dog ate. The study went on from when the dogs were 8 weeks old until they died. The pair livedin the same house with access to both indoor and outdoor areas. There were no restrictions to their activity levels. The dogs received standard preventive veterinary care and medical treatment as necessary. When they turned 3, their dog foods were switched to an adult maintenance diet. The control dogs were fed the amount that should have maintained them at their “ideal” body weight.
The result of the 25% decrease in calorie intake was insightful. On average, these dogs lived almost two years longer than those dogs who were fed the normal amount.The calorie-restricted dogs also developed fewer chronic diseases like osteoarthritis, and when they did occur, they developed later much later.
Parkinson Treatment for Dogs
In the second study, researchers considered Parkinson disease treatments. Patients who take L-deprenyl experienced fewer symptoms. They also lived longer than other patients, even when demographic differences were taken into account. Scientists wanted to see if it has a similar effect in dogs.
Eighty-two beagles were paired. The hounds’ ages range from 2.8 to 16.4 years. One individual was given a placebo and the other L-deprenyl for over two years. Because of the inclusion of many young dogs and the relatively short duration of the study, no overall difference in life expectancy for the two groups was noted.
But when the researchers looked only at dogs who were between 10 and 15 years of age at the start of the study and received L-deprenyl for at least six months, the results were very different. Twelve out of fifteen dogs, or 80%, of the dogs who received L-deprenyl lived until the end of the study.
Images: jespahjoy/Flickr, Harold Meerveld/Flickr