Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chubby dog? Getting a smaller bowl might help.

Browsing the Internet for interesting pet news usually brings me past the Huffington Post, and I stumbled over an article about overweight pets and the size of food bowls. I've never thought about this connection, but it makes sense. A big bowl will make a correct size portion look tiny. 

My doggies have pretty large bowls, and I always think, "Oh you poor thing, having to make do on so little food. But it's what the bag says you should have..." It is tempting to toss some more grub in there to make it look better.

According to the article, the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine made an experiment with 54 dogs and their owners. Four combinations were tested: 
  • Small bowl with a small scoop
  • Small bowl with a large scoop
  • Large bowl with a small scoop
  • Large bowl with a large scoop 
Predictably, the servings in the small bowl with the small scoop were significantly less than all other combinations. 

Does it matter?

Yes, especially for small dogs and cats eating dry food. Kibble is generally high in calories, and a small pet will gain weight quickly.

What to do? I use a graded measuring cup. Even if the food in the bowl looks like too little, the measuring cup says it's just right.

The article also pointed out that many pet owners have a huge bowl for the food, and a tiny bowl for water. It should be the other way around: pets need much more water than they do food.

~ Maria Sadowski


  1. Oh yes! I made this mistake when we first got Titan. Now he has a smaller food bowl, not water, and I do measure his food in the a.m. and evenings. It works much better and helps keep his weight down. Thanks for sharing this! Awesome stuff!

    1. I used to just pour some food up until it looked right. Yeah, that worked really well. *cough* Now I have a measuring cup. =D Thank you for coming over! =D

  2. Mom has always had bowls for us that matched our size and she always measures out the food...rats...I try to distract her but it never works to get more food! You can't just put down food and think pets know when to stop eating!

    1. My dogs are really good at giving the "Mom, I'm still so hungry" stare. I look away and pretend not to see it.

      I always watch over them when they eat, though, because my American Eskimo is much hungrier than the Border Collies, and he'll try to steal anything he can. I tell him, "Hey, I don't try to take your food while you're eating" and he looks like, "You could, mom, I'd share, they're just so slow" so the disciplining isn't going too well... ;-)

  3. I always measure Chester and Gretel's food. That is the only way you can be sure they are getting just the right amount. One dog has a small bowl and one has a larger bowl. I admit that the food does look measly in the big bowl though :)

    1. Chester and Gretel, I love those names! Thank you for coming over! =D