Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why is my dog fat? Gene deletion may provide clues

Personally having a lab that is probably 25 lbs over weight with a healthy diet, this article provides the insight of why this could be happening

A new research shows that nearly 25 % of Labrador retrievers are missing a gene that helps control hunger.

The deletions take place in the POMC gene, which provides instructions to make a protein called proopiomelancortin, a protein which helps us feel full. Dogs with this mutation are about 2 kilograms heavier on average and are 10% more likely to beg for food and hunt for scarps according to a survey.

This finding mat explain why the Lab is the most obese dog breed with 60% fitting into this category.
The bright side to this is labs are the most popular guide dogs because food motivation makes them easy to train. Scientist looking into the guide dogs genes found more than three-quarters of them had a chunk missing from their POMC gene.

Next time your lab comes begging for food give them exercise not the extra fries.



  1. This is so interesting! Labs were always my families dog of choice growing up, and every one, despite health diet and rigorous exercise (my dad would bring them pheasant hunting) would always end up chubby!! Since this is known for the breed as well, it is interesting to learn that there is actually a genetic component to this. I wonder what the inheritance pattern to this mutation is (if any), and if the presence of it renders the dog to a future of fatness, or if there is still hope to being a slender pup.

  2. It's interesting how the absence of this gene increases the dog's risk of obesity, but only because the dog is in turn feeling less full. This sounds like something that is indirectly causing the dogs to become overweight, and if this is right, then the dogs should still be able to stay fit in some way despite the missing protein. Possibly a special blend of dog food with more fiber for increased fullness and less calories?

  3. I have two dogs myself, and strangely enough the one that is half lab must have a mutation to this gene. She is the pickiest dog I have ever seen in my life, she has no over inclination to food. However, my smallest dog who is not parts lab would eat a rock if she could, she has no control to what she eats and is overweight. This leads me to believe that maybe this gene is not only seen in one breed of dog.