I am always cold, so when I’m out and about, and feeling frozen, I notice people with “literally no clothes on in the middle of winter” – my response is usually somewhat unpolite, I stare in disbelief and horror.
The thermostat appears to be wired differently in people.
Could thermostat wiring be contributing to obesity ?
The thermostat in dogs
Body temperature is relatively easy to measure – a strategically placed thermometer, will quickly reflect the core body temperature of man or beast.
Researchers from the University of Southern Carolina set up about measuring the core body temperature, of a collection of dogs over a period of several years.
NOTE : A thermometer stuck in a dogs mouth would quickly be no more, so the dog body temperature was established by sticking the thermometer in the other end, the rectum.
The researchers gathered body temperature measurements for 287 dogs, big and small, fat and thin. In addition to recording their body temperature, the animal’s weight was also tracked.
Fat dogs are cool
Big dogs had lower body temperatures than smaller dogs.
In dogs of the same size, fat dogs had lower body temperatures than thin dogs.
Fat dogs and the energy equation
The same weight formula used to understand obesity in humans, also applies to dogs.
Calories in must equal calories out.
Deviations from this cause weight gain or weight loss.
So fat dogs consume more calories than they use. The extra calories are stored in fat cells, for a rainy day. Which in a dog living in the suburbs – never comes.
You really don’t use much energy when you follow the sun from one favourite sleeping spot to the next. And no energy is needed to “catch” dinner – it spontaneously appears in your big red bowl. Begging for tit bits is also not a particularly energy consuming activity – it requires cultivating a pathetic soulful facial expression, not major body movement.
But being cool, means you’re running on less energy
Besides moving, as a warm-blooded animal, you also burn calories to keep warm.
If your thermostat is set at a lower temperature, then you will need to burn less calories to keep yourself nice and toasty inside.
The observation that fat dogs were cooler than thin dogs, could explain why they were packing on the pounds.
The weight formula is tipping, not because there are too many calories going in, but not enough going out.
Are fat humans just too cool for their own good ?Association between obesity and reduced body temperature in dogs. International Journal of Obesity (2010) 35 (8): 1011. G Piccione, E Giudice, F Fazio, R Refinetti.
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