Sorry Cat People: If You Want to Lose Weight, Be a Dog Person

It is a debate that has raged on for centuries: which is a better pet, a dog or a cat? Well, we finally have the answer, and the answer is…

…It doesn’t matter. Love is love.

That’s a silly debate. Both are great pets. Whatever makes you happy. But if you are looking for a pet that will help you achieve your weight loss goals, then you’re going to want to be a dog person, and it’s not even close.

Benefits of Dog Ownership on Weight Loss

Dog playing fetch with ownerThere is nothing better for weight loss than movement. Studies have consistently shown that those that move in any way tend to be more fit and lose more weight than those that do not.

On the one hand, this may be a bit obvious. Since movement is what burns calories, those that move more often are likely to lose more weight than those that do not. But what’s fascinating is that it’s not just running and exercise. Those that struggle with obesity tend to move less in every possible way.

When they sit still, for example, those that struggle with obesity tend to sit very still. Those that are in better shape tend to fidget, frequently. The results can add up to as much as 350 calories burned per day. Something as simple as the need to fidget even while you’re sitting can end up burning an extra pound every 10 days, or 35 pounds in a year. That is a considerable amount of weight loss for what amounts to minor movement.

It is also why dog people are in a better position to lose weight than cat people. Consider the following:

  • Woman walking her dog by the lakeWalks – Dogs need walks. Frequently, in fact. Dogs should ideally be walked for at least one hour every day, and walking a dog is excellent for your health and fitness. But even if you have chosen a small, less active dog, you still need to take the dog out of the house to go to the bathroom. That means getting up, putting on shoes, walking outside, and more. That is the movement that adds up to calories burned and prevents a fully sedentary lifestyle.
  • Attention – Dogs also need attention. Most dogs will hassle you, trying to get you to pet them, throw a ball, or otherwise interact with them. Cats do not necessarily care about your attention and those that do usually simply need to sit on your lap and claw at you a bit. Some do like being pet, but as a smaller animal the petting is often shorter and with less movement than petting a dog.
  • Energy – Energy is contagious. Most dogs are energetic animals that run around the house, play bark, jump, and perform regular positive energy behaviors. Human beings are attracted t energy. When we see the energy in the dog, we get a higher energy level as well. It may be minor but it’s there, and it can help
  • Social Situations – Finally, living with a dog tends to be a more social experience than living with a cat. Dogs are taken to dog parks or get attention when outside. If you’re taking your dog out and playing with your dog, you’re putting yourself in a position to have more social interactions and – this is true – talking can burn calories.

When your goal is to lose weight, a loving animal that depends on you every day for walks and attention is far more likely to help you burn calories and keep you active than an animal that sleeps 20 hours a day, doesn’t need to go outside to use the bathroom or get exercise, and doesn’t generally need interactive play.

So dog lovers and cat lovers – you’re both great. Animal companions are perhaps some of the best parts of the human experience. But if we’re talking about strictly weight loss, then it’s not a competition. Dog people are going to be more likely to lose weight than cat people, and it is not very close.