The size of a pet's food bowl and the tools used to scoop out the petfood are likely contributing to the epidemic of pet obesity, according to a study published in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition.
The four-treatment trial study, conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, included 54 dogs that consumed kibbled dog food in the following serving combinations:
• Small bowl and small scoop
• Small bowl and large scoop
• Large bowl and small scoop
• Large bowl and large scoop
The food portions offered to the dogs using the small bowl with the small scoop were significantly less than all other bowl and scoop combinations, the study showed. The small/small combination averaged about 151 grams, compared to 172, 173 and 185 grams for the other combinations. The small bowl/large scoop and the large bowl/small scoop amounts were almost the same (172 grams versus 173 grams), while the large bowl with the large scoop resulted in a 185-gram serving.
Study authors say these results emphasize the need for pet owners to use standard measuring cups when measuring out their pet's food, and for owners of overweight pets to use smaller bowls and serving scoops. Researchers say it is also important that pet owners calculate their pet's ideal daily caloric intake.
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