Document Detail

Dog obesity: owner attitudes and behaviour.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19766333     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Animal (dog) factors that contribute to obesity are classified into three broad categories: genetic pre-disposition, reproductive management and dietary/exercise (human) management. This paper examined the latter-dietary/exercise (human) management. A quantitative analysis of questionnaire responses from dog owners and veterinarians was used to determine the routine care and obesity management strategies for dogs. A total of 550 questionnaires were distributed to dog owners in Victoria, Australia. Owners were asked to score the body condition of their animal by comparison with photographic images of animals with condition score ranging from 2 to 5. The management routines of 219 dog owners were received, including data on 302 dogs. There were 168 households with normal weight animals (BCS 2 and 3) and 51 with obese animals (BCS 4 and 5). The mean number of people per household (normally involved with caring for the animal(s)) with normal weight dogs was significantly lower than that of households with dogs categorised as overweight or obese (Kruskal-Wallis, Chi; chi(2)=6.28; 2.2 (s=0.79) vs. 2.5 (s=1.66); d.f.=2, P<0.05). Dog owners identified a preference for main meal feeding of 'twice a day' (60%), followed by 'once daily' (33%), 'greater than or equal to three times daily' (2%), and 'always feed available' (5%). There was a significant difference (Chi; chi(2)=6.30; d.f.=1; P<0.05) in the frequency of main meal feeding between households. Normal weight animals had food divided into two portions, whereas obese animals or animals from mixed households were more often fed their meal in either one or three-plus portions. Almost all owners fed treats (99%) in the daily feed. Households with normal weight dogs gave treats significantly less frequently than households with obese or mixed weight dogs (Chi; chi(2)=31.81; d.f.=6; P<0.001). The frequency of exercise differed between households (Chi; chi(2)=9.9; d.f.=1; P<0.01), with normal weight dogs being exercised daily compared to weekly for overweight or mixed weight dogs. Owners who indicated that their dog was confined to a yard as its exercise regime rather than walked were also significantly more likely to be an obese or mixed weight household (Chi; chi(2)=18.4; d.f.=1; P<0.001). In conclusion, there is clear evidence that obesity in dogs is affected by the interrelationships between food management, exercise and social factors.
I M Bland; A Guthrie-Jones; R D Taylor; J Hill
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2009-09-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  Preventive veterinary medicine     Volume:  92     ISSN:  1873-1716     ISO Abbreviation:  Prev. Vet. Med.     Publication Date:  2009 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-11-09     Completed Date:  2010-01-14     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8217463     Medline TA:  Prev Vet Med     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  333-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Agriculture and Food Systems, Faculty of Land and Food Resources, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Domestic
Chi-Square Distribution
Dog Diseases / etiology*
Obesity / etiology,  veterinary*
Physical Conditioning, Animal
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