White, Jill, McBride, E. Anne, Redhead, Edward and Bishop, Felicity
Factors that contribute towards obesity in dogs
At 11th International Conference on Human-Animal Interaction.
05 - 08 Oct 2007.
Microsoft Word White_Blue_Cross_Obesity_report_Abstract_2007.doc
This study investigated the strength of association between owner demographics, dog characteristics, owner attitude, owner-dog interactions and dog weight profiles in a random population of dog owners. In this correlation study, the variables were weight definition, as categorised by dog owners, dog and owner characteristics, food and exercise levels, owner attachment, owner attitude towards their dogs, and owner behaviour (owner-dog interaction). Respondents (n = 836) completed an on-line survey containing open and closed questions to determine demographic profiles and household management practices. Three Likert scale scores measured owner to dog attachment, owner anthropomorphism, and owner-dog interactions. Owners assessed their dog’s weight profiles on a 5-point scale from very underweight to obese. Twenty-five percent of the dogs were reported as being overweight. A higher weight profile was positively correlated with the dogs' age, the dog being either of a gundog or terrier breed, the owner having a “high attachment-high anthropomorphic” attitude towards their dog, the frequency of owner-dog interactions and the feeding of treats and table scraps. A significant negative correlation was found between dog weight and owner income. There was a significant positive correlation between dogs’ weight and age and owner behaviour. Multiple regression analyses found that the dog's age and breed, and owner behaviour in feeding treats were responsible for a significant proportion (11%) of variance in a dogs' weight. Exercise levels were not found to correlate with weight profiles of dogs in this study.
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