Doctors examine dog eating behavior
When it comes to excessive weight gain, humans and dogs are quite similar and some animals are simply more prone to being overweight and obese. A new study on dog behavior could now help us better understand how human personality affects obesity.
The University of Padova scientists found in their current study that dogs and humans are similar when it comes to obesity. Some just seem more susceptible to excessive weight gain. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Royal Society Open Science".
Dogs fed various meals
The researchers asked volunteers to bring their dogs to the exam. These animals were then divided into different groups depending on whether they were of normal weight or had obesity. The scientists first served an inferior meal or food that was not so filling or interesting for the dog. The researchers then brought the dogs either a bowl with no food in them or a bowl with high-quality, tasty food. The owners of the dogs were previously asked to order their dogs to wait until the scientists brought out a second bowl of food. So the dogs were able to check both bowls first before choosing one of the two bowls.
Obese dogs preferred inferior food
The experts had actually suspected that the overweight dogs would rather wait for the potential high-quality meal because they would prefer a large, tasty meal. However, this was not the case. The overweight dogs quickly decided not to wait for the potentially tasty food. Instead, the animals ate the inferior food as soon as it was served.
Do overweight people behave similarly?
Humans and dogs are the same in many ways, but it's too early to say that humans would behave in a similar way, the researchers explain. However, if people really behave similarly, it means that overweight people may also prefer the immediate meal if there is uncertainty as to whether a better meal will be provided later, the scientists add.
What advantages can such eating behavior offer?
From an evolutionary perspective, this could have been beneficial behavior in wild animals. Animals can rarely be sure if and when their next meal will take place, so they have to take every opportunity to eat, the experts explain. In today's world of abundance, where humans and animals often have unlimited access to food, patience is advisable when it comes to choosing to eat, doctors add.
These factors affect our weight
Nevertheless, this investigation clearly had its limits, since the relationships between human and animal obesity are endlessly complex and controversial, the scientists say. There is no evidence that similar behavior exists in humans. There are also some factors that play an important role in the development of overweight and obesity, such as genetics, access to healthy food and exercise, the experts explain. (as)