Lickable cat foods are marketed as a means to cleanse your dog.
But some dogs love to lick the food.
A new study finds that licking can actually help your dog lose weight.
It could be the key to keeping him healthy.
Read moreRead less”It’s an indication of an overall health state and a good idea for your dog to lick around and lick at the bottom of the bowl so he’s not sucking on food,” said Dr. Jessica Smith, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study.
“He’s more likely to lick in the bowl when he’s feeding.”
Smith and her colleagues analyzed data from more than 700 dogs, including one that was licking a bowl of cat food.
The researchers found that licking led to the dogs losing about 6.5 pounds, which is about half their weight when they were fed the food on their own.
Licking the bowl also led to about 2.5 fewer calories in the food compared to the other bowl.
This is just the first study to look at the relationship between licking and weight loss.
Smith and her team also looked at licking behavior in dogs who were on their food alone.
The study found that the licking was related to the animals’ hunger and whether or not the dogs liked to eat the food, but not to the amount of food they were eating.
The study was published online May 6 in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Smith and other researchers are now trying to find a way to make licking more enjoyable.
She and her group are planning a trial of licking in conjunction with other treats that they are testing in humans.
“This could potentially be a very rewarding behavior to the dog, but we need to figure out a way for him to eat in a way that’s less rewarding,” Smith said.
“We need to do this while not actually eating.”