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Dog owners told how often to feed their pets to keep them healthy: 'I was surprised!'

Dogs come in all sorts of breeds, big or small, young or old, male or female. While these factors may account for the amount of food dogs require and the types of food they should be given, according to a breakthrough study all canines should be fed with the same frequency. Researchers assessed over 10,000 dogs to find some shocking links between feeding frequency and canine health.

Results showed that feeding adult dogs once-a-day was linked with several indicators of better health compared with dogs that are fed more often.

Emily Bray, study leader from the University of Arizona, wrote in the paper: “Controlling for sex, age, breed, and other potential confounders, we found that dogs fed once daily rather than more frequently had lower mean scores on a cognitive dysfunction scale, and lower odds of having gastrointestinal, dental, orthopedic, kidney/urinary, and liver/pancreas disorders.”

And the results left researchers stunned.

Kathleen Kerr, senior author from the University of Washington, said back in December when preliminary results were announced: “We weren’t confident at all that we would see any differences in dogs’ health or cognition based on feeding frequency.

“I think we would have been excited to see an association between feeding frequency and health in just one domain. I was surprised to see associations in so many domains.”

Earlier studies have already produced evidence that intermittent fasting can down the ageing process in some animals like mice.

Now, it appears this might also be the case for dogs, which may be able to avoid certain diseases through restricted eating.

But while several health indicators did fare better with this eating pattern, it remained unclear in a number of other domains.

These included measurements for disease risk in terms of cardiac, skin, neurological health, and cancer incidences.

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And while the results do at first glance appear promising, the researchers did point out there are other limitations that need to be taken into consideration.

For instance, feeding data was self-reported by dog owners so is subject to errors.

Because of this, the experts stressed that owners should avoiding changing their pets’ eating habits straight away based on this one study

But the paper did say: “However, if supported by future studies, it may be prudent to revisit the currently predominant recommendation that adult dogs be fed twice daily.

“The rationale for twice-daily feeding in dogs is obscure… and our study suggests that more frequent feeding may, in fact, be suboptimal for several age-related health outcomes.”

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A similar study by researchers from the University of Washington in 2021 came to similar conclusions.

It also showed that dogs fed once a day are less likely to be diagnosed with age-related conditions than dogs fed more often.

This was based on an analysis of surveys completed by 24,000 owners of pet dogs.

Matt Kaeberlein from the University of Washington said: “Based on this study, we are not recommending that people make a change in the way they are feeding their dogs.”



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