The relationship of feeding patterns and obesity in dogs

Authors


Heuberger Roschelle, Professor of Nutrition,106A Wightman Hall, Department HEV, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859, USA. Tel: 1-989-774-3571; Fax: 1-989-774-2435; E-mail: heube1ra@cmich.edu

Summary

The rates of dog obesity are increasing and a greater understanding of feeding patterns is required to combat the problem. This study examined relationships between dietary patterns and caloric intake, and nutrient content of foods fed as it relates to obesity in dogs in the United States. Sixty-one owners and their dogs were enrolled, and lifestyle surveys, food frequencies, and 3-day food records were collected. Significant differences in overall kcal intake per kilogram of body weight were found (p < 0.04). Crude fibre in dog food was positively associated with protein and negatively associated with fat regardless of the dog’s weight (p < 0.001). Lean dogs received significantly more crude fibre in relation to overweight dogs regardless of the number of treats they received (p < 0.01), and their diets had greater micronutrient densities (p < 0.03) suggesting that high fibre influences body condition. Additionally, owners who ate nutrient-rich, calorie-poor diets had normal weight dogs, and owners that fed more table scraps had overweight dogs. Regardless of body condition, 59% of dogs received table scraps, which constituted 21% of daily caloric intake. The nutrient density of scraps fed was variable and did not meet National Research Council’s recommendations for micronutrient adequacy.

Ancillary