Generally speaking, I like kids’ movies. But as a dad, I’ve certainly gotten dragged to some real duds. Whenever that happens, I usually end up thinking about some intricate logistical point that the movie never addresses. Like when I saw the inferior sequel Despicable Me 3, all I could think about was how the Minions reproduced.
Which brings me to the new Clifford the Big Red Dog movie. It really doesn’t look that good to me, but I’m sure I’m going to see it anyway. And for that one, I already know where my head will be at: How big are this dog’s shits?
As such, I reached out to mathematician James Hind from Nottingham Trent University, who recently helped me figure out how many s’mores could be made from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I provided him with Clifford’s height — which is precisely 10 feet tall in the film — and a few days later, he came back with a reply.
“The average height of a male labrador is 22 inches, and for Clifford to be 10 feet tall, that makes him nearly five and a half times — 5.455, to be exact — as large as an average labrador,” Hind explains. “Healthy labrador poop is log shaped, which is mathematically easy to calculate. The formula for the volume of a cylinder is r2h (where h is the length of the log, and r is the radius). For a dog with a healthy diet, we would expect a normal-sized labrador to produce three portions of inch-wide poop that is four inches long each day. In volume, that would be equal to a cube that’s about 2.1 inches on each side.”
Some dogs, Hind notes, might poop a few times a day, but that’s still generally the amount an average labrador would poop in a day, regardless of how many pooping sessions that’s broken up into. “For Clifford,” Hind continues, “the pile of poop has to be multiplied by 5.455 in terms of its height, width and length. That’s roughly equivalent to a cube that’s 11.52 inches on each side. Accounting for the margin of error, that’s one cubic foot of dog poop.”
So, Clifford the Big Red Dog lays one cubic foot of dog shit per day, but how much does that weigh?
According to Pet Poo Skiddoo’s dog-waste calculator, that’s 6.546 pounds of dog shit per day. Which is a lot, no doubt, but it isn’t so bad. If Clifford’s owners brought along a decent garbage bag when they walked him, they could scoop that up with a shovel without the bag ripping. They could also do what has been proposed on Reddit, which is to train Clifford to directly shit into dumpsters, which is very smart.
Well, that settles that and that should satisfy me, but in the course of my research, I stumbled upon a very pertinent question posed by @Baileymoon15 on Twitter: “How much euthanasia would it take to put Clifford down?”
I know, it’s sad, and we don’t want to think this way, but what if Clifford gets sick? Or what if he contracts rabies and becomes a menace to society like a giant Godzilla Cujo? At that point, the only humane thing to do would be to send him across the rainbow bridge.
For this final question, I calculated Clifford’s weight by taking an average lab’s weight — 80 pounds — and multiplied it by Hind’s 5.455 number to conclude that he’d weigh about 436.4 pounds. For an animal that size, veterinarian Tony Johnson tells me, “There are two major solutions that veterinarians use for euthanasia, and both are dosed at 1 milliliter per 10 pounds (though we usually round up because you never want a euthanasia not to go well). For Clifford, that would be 43.6 milliliters, and I’d probably round that up to 50 milliliters.”
“But,” Johnson insists, “I would try to save Clifford.”
I know you would, Dr. Johnson, but sometimes, putting a giant, fictional cartoon dog who’s shitting nearly seven pounds per day out of his misery is simply the right thing to do.