New research has found they could live 2.5 years less than healthier dogs

Overweight dogs are more likely to have shorter lives than those at ideal body weights, according to new research.

A University of Liverpool study looked at more than 50,000 dogs across 12 of the most popular dog breeds.

It found that the lifespan of those who were overweight was up to two and a half years shorter than fitter dogs.

The study reveals that pet obesity is steadily on the rise.

The latest figures from the US estimate that one in three dogs and cats there is overweight.

According to a recent Better Cities For Pets survey, 54% of cat and dog owners always or often give their pet food if they beg for it.

Meanwhile 22% of owners sometimes overfeed their pet to keep them happy.

Pete Wedderburn - a vet in Bray Co. Wicklow - says being overweight poses many risks to dogs.

Mr Wedderburn says "Overweight has become normal in the dog world. So if someone who has an animal that is the ideal weight, they'll actually get people coming up to them and saying that their dogs is too thin".

"It's because they're not used to seeing dogs at their normal weight".

"It is not cute, it's not cuddly to have dogs that are carrying too much weight. It makes their lives miserable and shorter".