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Once-daily feeding is associated with better health in companion dogs: Results from the Dog Aging Project

By Emily E Bray, Zihan Zheng, M. Katherine Tolbert, Brianah M. McCoy, Dog Aging Project Consortium, Matt Kaeberlein, Kathleen F. Kerr

Posted 11 Nov 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.08.467616

A variety of diets have been studied for possible anti-aging effects. In particular, studies of intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding in laboratory rodents have found evidence of beneficial health outcomes. Companion dogs represent a unique opportunity to study diet in a large mammal that shares human environments. The Dog Aging Project has been collecting data on thousands of companion dogs of all different ages, sizes, and breeds since 2019. We leveraged this diverse cross-sectional dataset to investigate associations between feeding frequency and cognitive function (n = 10,474) as well as nine broad categories of health conditions (n = 24,238). 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. Therefore, we find that once-daily feeding is associated with better health in multiple domains. Future research with longitudinal data can provide stronger evidence for a possible causal effect of feeding frequency on health in companion dogs.

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