Some Pet Breeds More Prone to Obesity than Others

As a responsible pet owner, you have control over your pet’s diet and activity levels. You feed your pet nutritious food, in the right amount and provide plenty of opportunities for daily exercise. So why, despite best efforts, do some pets still become obese? New research is showing that there may be more contributing to your pet’s weight than you think.  Some breeds of dogs (and cats) may be more susceptible to obesity than others due to genetic factors.
 
Scientists at the University of Cambridge studied more than 300 healthy, adult Labrador Retrievers and found that a variant of one gene, known as pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), was strongly associated with weight, obesity and appetite. The POMC gene is an important factor in regulating how the brain recognizes hunger and the feeling of being full after a meal.
 
The more copies of the POMC variant that a dog had, the heavier and more food motivated it was. Twenty-three percent of these dogs carried at least one copy of the POMC variant. This common genetic variant found in Labradors may help explain why they are more prone to being overweight in comparison to other breeds.
 
Carrying this gene may also explain why some dogs are highly motivated to work for a treat. But being more food motivated also makes them susceptible to obesity, an unhealthy condition for pets that is linked to numerous other diseases.
 
When it comes to cats, genetic differences may result in some pets having significantly lower energy requirements and therefore requiring fewer calories per day to maintain an ideal body weight. However, genetic involvement related to obesity in cats has not yet been thoroughly examined.
 
Breeds reported to have a higher prevalence of obesity
Dogs                                                      Cats
Labrador Retriever                          Manx                   
Cairn Terrier                                       Maine Coon
Cocker Spaniel                                  Russian Blue
 
Regardless if your pet is more prone to obesity or not, it is important to always partner with your veterinarian on a weight management program to ensure your pet is as healthy as possible throughout every life stage.