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Burt Ward -- 'Robin' from the 1960s Batman TV series -- has started a dog food company.

In a recent promotional article, he claimed:

"We've made a food where we have doubled and tripled the lifespan of dogs; we have dogs living 27 healthy active years"

That is not impossibly-old for a pet dog, but it's a pretty remarkable claim.

Is there anything to back this up?

  • Of course there's always the question of "Compared to what?" Is the "control" diet one rich in chicken bones? – Daniel R Hicks Nov 19 '18 at 0:07
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    How could a study prove how long the food increases a dogs life unless it lasts for almost the entire length of a dog's life up to age 27? a scientific study would have to have taken at least a decade or two. If the claim is true, the dog food product would have to have been tested on dogs for at least a decade or two. – M. A. Golding Nov 19 '18 at 19:58
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This cited claim seems to made by Ward himself in the interview without any study to back it up. While not unreasonable, 27 years is already a very high upper bound achieved by only very few canines, see this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_dogs

Even if we assume there are (multiple) of Ward's dogs reaching this age, it is impossible to claim that the food caused it without a proper study to back this up. It could be just a random occurrence.

Additionally, it is worth to mention that recent research showed that it is possible to prolong the life of mice up to 50%, see this comprehensive list:

https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2009/08/a-list-of-interesting-longevity-enhancement-methods-in-mice/

It is noteworthy that the highest achieving methods were genetically engineered (in comparison to nutritional) and also that mice have a higher lifespan variability than dogs. A well done recent study could extend the life of mice by 25%: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature16932 In light of that, the claim to prolong the lifespan of dogs only nutritionally by 200-300% seems widely exaggerated.

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    Welcome to Skeptics! You say it is impossible to claim this without a proper study to back it up. How do you know this hasn't been done? – Oddthinking Nov 17 '18 at 1:18
  • Thanks, @Oddthinking. It is of course not provable if a study (or anything at all) does not exist. We can just prove the existence of something (with some uncertainties usually). What we can do is to give an educated guess of probability for nonexistence. – Tim M. Schendzielorz Nov 18 '18 at 2:33

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