Will you eat more or less food if you eat from a small plate even if you can return for further helpings? Human research on dieting has established that the size of bowls, plates, cups, glasses and utensils influence the total amount of food consumed. That is why dieters are encouraged to use saucers instead of plates, appetizer bowls instead of cereal bowls and smaller forks and spoons. The positive results are believed to be due the psychological concepts of optical illusions and size-contrast illusion. A recent study in animals shows that the same effects influence the way owners feed their dogs.
54 randomly chosen dogs and owners visited a research facility on 4 different occasions to feed the dog kibbled food. Each visit for the pair featured a different feeding utensil combination. Owners fed using a small scoop and small bowl, a large scoop and small bowl, a small scoop and large bowl and a large scoop and large bowl. No combination was repeated.
Statistical analysis showed meal sizes were consistently smaller when owners used a small scoop and small bowl and fed consistently larger meals when using a large scoop and large bowl. Meal size was not significantly different when a large scoop and small bowl or a small scoop and large bowl were used. Researchers concluded that the same optical illusion factors that influence human dieters occur when owners feed their dogs.
By weighing food or using a measured cup for feeding helps eliminate overfeeding. Using a smaller food bowl makes the amount of food look larger and reduces the tendency to add food to fill the container. The water bowl should be large and the food bowl should be shallow and about 1 ½ times the diameter of the nose.
~Dr Ken Tudor
THE DOG DIETITIAN