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The bond between pet and owner can be as strong as the bond between two best friends. You want to prolong your dog’s life and keep him healthy for as long as possible. But how do you find the right diet for your pooch? While keeping in mind what goes into your pet’s meals is important, you might have more to worry about than just nutrition.

The key to keeping our furry friends alive longer might be as simple as feeding them less. In 2007, a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found a correlation between calorie-restricted diets and longevity in Labrador Retrievers. According to an article in Science Daily, the dogs that were fed less lived almost two years longer than the dogs in the control group. The dogs that ate more had a greater chance of suffering from insulin resistance (which could lead to diabetes) and obesity.

Nutrition is also important. You and your vet should work together to find the right food for your dog, but you shouldn’t be afraid to spice up your canine’s entrees with a few added treats. That’s why The Healthy Dog Cookbook exists. This short, spiral bound cookbook offers such delicious, nutritious meals as Parsley & Salmon Kibbles, Apple Molasses Delights, and Liver Biscuits.

Wait a minute. Liver Biscuits? While just the mention of these foods might provoke the gag reflex in humans, your dog would be chowing down by now.

By feeding him healthy, tasty foods—and keeping an eye on his calories—you can rest assured he is eating well and loving every minute of it, not to mention looking good in the process (the book also offers recipes that help keep coats sleek and shiny).

You do not want to underfeed your dog, so you have to determine the absolute minimum he needs per day. By knowing the absolute minimum, you can be sure never to reach it—and certainly never drop below it. You can find an accurate scale for required caloric intake based on your dog’s weight at

If your dog weighs 25 pounds, you want to feed him no less than 825 calories a day. If your dog weighs six times that (150 pounds), you need to feed him at least 3,600 calories. On average, a woman should take in about 1,600 calories a day and a man should take in 2,200. Notice the stark difference between the recommended caloric intake for humans and dogs. And that’s not the only difference between human and dog diets.

If your dog is living longer, then you also need to stay in good health to keep him company. So maybe you should start restricting your own calories, too, right? Well, not so fast. While it’s always a good idea to watch what you eat, restricting calories might not necessarily ensure a longer life, at least not for humans. In September 2008, Science Daily reported on another study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Apparently, if you’re a human trying to reduce your calories, the surest way to live longer is to eat less protein. But if veganism isn’t your cup of tea (and yes, standard vegans can drink tea), then you can always count on one way to stay healthy.

While researchers try to determine why restricted calorie diets affect animals and humans in such different ways, go outside for a while and engage with your pooch in that one activity that is sure to give you both longer, healthier livesexercise.

Check out these and other cutting edge science articles at / Issue 108 - September 4552
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