Fat Dogs May Teach Us A Thing Or Two About Obesity, Claims New Study

The study shows that dogs and humans are alike in responses to food, and the findings may help with studying psychological impacts and reasons of obesity.

Image of woman with her obese dog
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The study shows that dogs and humans are alike in responses to food, and the findings may help with studying psychological impacts and reasons of obesity.

A recent study in Hungary suggests that responses from normal and fat dogs in regards to their eating habits might shed light on our own responses to a meal, according to Tech Times. The researchers found during tests that fat and normal-sized canines behaved quite differently when it came to tasks that involved food.

What’s more, the findings from the study even suggest that the obese or normal-sized canine’s responses were typical of ones you would expect to see in people that were obese or normal-sized.

The researchers conducted the study by first placing two bowls in front of a series of canines. One of the bowls contained what the dogs would consider a good meal, but the others were empty or had what they would consider less attractive food items in the bowls.

What the researchers found during the study was surprising: The normal-sized dogs that were tested continued to obey instructions to check the second bowl for food, while the fat dogs refrained from looking for more after a few times.

Test leader, Orsolya Torda, had this to say about the findings.

“We expected the overweight dog to do anything to get food, but in this test, we saw the opposite. The overweight dogs took a negative view.

“If a situation is uncertain and they cannot find food, the obese dogs are unwilling to invest energy to search for food — for them the main thing is to find the right food with [the] least energy involved.”

The researchers in Hungary found that overweight dogs have much in common with overweight people, “Including an interest in top quality food and an unwillingness to settle for second best,” reports Eyewitness News.

Dog and owner eating food together
  Leon Neal / Getty Images

Additionally, the overweight dogs’ actions mirror those of overweight people who see food as a reward. The study’s findings were published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. Authors from Budapest’s ELTE University contributed to the paper published in the journal.

The authors of the paper stated that outcomes from the Hungarian study indicate that the obese dogs’ responses during the tests could be used as models for studying psychological effects and causes of human obesity.

Researchers found another strange fact when it comes to our fat dogs. If the owner is fat, their dogs usually are, too. That also goes for most types of pets, whether it is a dog, cat, or pet house rabbit. Centers for Disease Control statistics indicate that more than two-thirds of adults are either obese or overweight. That’s a whopping 68.8 percent. Here’s to hoping that the Hungarian study findings can help in the future with the war on obesity.