They discover the mystery of why the Labrador dog is always hungry

Owners of Labrador dogs know that they are insatiable. His appetite seems to have no end and, in fact, Obesity is one of the big problems of this type of dogs.

As in humans, being overweight in dogs has serious consequences for their health. Thus, many dogs with a few extra kilos have bone or joint problems, cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and digestive disorders.

Controlling diet and exercising are the advice of veterinarians to avoid obesity in Labradors. However, uA poor diet is not always the reason why these dogs have a tendency to gain weight..

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered that at least 25% of Labradors have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to being obese.

According to research led by veterinarian and geneticist Eleanor Raffan and published in the journal Science Avances, dogs with Mutation of the gene called proopiomelanocortin (POMC) makes them feel hungrier between meals and burn less energy than other Labradors.

In the experiment, non-overweight adult Labradors from the United Kingdom were recruited and analyzed to determine how many had the genetic mutation.

To test and measure their desire to eat, three hours after being fed normally, the dogs were shown a sausage, which was subsequently placed in a sealed and perforated plastic box. Dogs with the mutation spent significantly more time interacting with the box and were shown to be hungrier than their counterparts without the genetic defect.

The conclusions of the study state that it is likely that this greater desire to eat explains why Labradors look for food in the domestic environment even if they have received their daily ration.

To find out how dogs burn energy and assess its effect on obesity, the researchers calculated how much energy they burned during rest. To do this, they measured the metabolic gases they produced while resting and discovered that the dogs with the POMC mutation used less energy than the rest of the dogs in the trial. This means, according to the study, that energy expenditure at rest is approximately 25% lower for dogs of adult weight. This figure is high enough to significantly decrease the amount of food needed to maintain a healthy body weight.

According to veterinarian Raffan, these experiments demonstrate how this mutation makes Labradors want more food without really needing it to feel full. Additionally, this condition causes them to burn food more slowly. “They get kind of a double whammy of eating more and burning fewer calories, which means they're predisposed to obesity in both directions,” she says.

Given these results, scientists recommend a healthy diet, controlling the amounts of food provided to these types of dogs, exercising and keeping them busy and distracted so that they do not think about food. In addition, it specifies that owners should not “succumb” to the animals' begging behavior.