• obese dog;
  • insulin resistance;
  • high-fat diet;
  • age


In humans, obesity is closely associated with insulin resistance (IR) and dyslipidaemia. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of age on metabolic disturbances related to obesity in dogs (n = 25). Three age-groups of dogs (puppies, young adults and mature adults) were overfed to induce obesity, and body composition, insulin sensitivity index (IIS) (euglycaemic–hyperinsulinaemic glucose clamp) and plasma lipids were measured. Fat mass was similar in the three obese groups (30 ± 1% in puppies, 34 ± 1% in young adults and 39 ± 1% in mature adults). In mature adults, body weight (BW) increased (+45%, p < 0.001) and IIS decreased (−60%, p < 0.001) over 22 weeks. In young adults, BW gain was similar but slower (60 weeks) and IIS decreased to a lesser extent (−49%, p < 0.001). Overfed puppies weighed 30% more (p < 0.01) than normally-fed control puppies, but there was no change in IIS. Unlike young and mature adults, obese puppies did not exhibit significant changes in triglycerides (TG) and free fatty acid concentrations. In conclusion, as in humans, obese dogs develop IR that is associated with high TG levels; however, younger animals may be better able to balance energy needs with energy consumption.