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Survey: Nutrition, body condition and activities of dogs in Switzerland


Gerstner, Kerstin; Liesegang, Annette (2016). Survey: Nutrition, body condition and activities of dogs in Switzerland. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Interest in species-appropriate activities and nutrition of dogs increases. A huge variety of feedstuff available, myths and different feeding theories confuse dog owners and lead to inadequate nutrition of their pets. As one result obesity in pets can be observed with a high incidence in veterinary practice. Although comorbidities of obesity are well known, only few pet owners realize consequently the necessity of weight reduction to support their pet’s health. We hypothesized that pet owners in Switzerland underestimate body condition of their dogs and are unsure about how to manage nutritional challenges. This study assessed the current nutrition, owner’s perception of body weight and body condition score (BCS) of their dog. At a dog exhibition dog owners filled in a questionnaire on age, breed, activity, housing, nutrition and source of information for questions concerning nutrition. Owners evaluated the BCS with the help of a poster and determined the ideal weight of their dog. Body weight was measured and BCS evaluated by two veterinarians. The study included 43 bitches (25 (58%) spayed), 35 male dogs (21 (60%) neutered) with an age of 4.7±3.6 years (mean ± STD). Average current body weight was 18.9 kg ±14.1 and corresponded approximately to the ideal body weight estimated by the owners (18.6 kg ±14.1). 4 (5%) of the dogs were judged by the owners to be underweight, 55 (70%) ideal, 14 (18%) a little overweight, 5 (6%) overweight. Owner’s evaluation of BCS averaged 4.54±1.13, veterinary’s evaluation was significantly higher with 5.20±1.20 (difference of 0.77±0.59; p<0.05). Although the awareness of the importance of adequate nutrition and activity for pets is rising among pet owners, they are overwhelmed by the variety of diets and sources of information available. This might lead to malnutrition and identifies a clear need for competent specialists of pet nutrition.

Interest in species-appropriate activities and nutrition of dogs increases. A huge variety of feedstuff available, myths and different feeding theories confuse dog owners and lead to inadequate nutrition of their pets. As one result obesity in pets can be observed with a high incidence in veterinary practice. Although comorbidities of obesity are well known, only few pet owners realize consequently the necessity of weight reduction to support their pet’s health. We hypothesized that pet owners in Switzerland underestimate body condition of their dogs and are unsure about how to manage nutritional challenges. This study assessed the current nutrition, owner’s perception of body weight and body condition score (BCS) of their dog. At a dog exhibition dog owners filled in a questionnaire on age, breed, activity, housing, nutrition and source of information for questions concerning nutrition. Owners evaluated the BCS with the help of a poster and determined the ideal weight of their dog. Body weight was measured and BCS evaluated by two veterinarians. The study included 43 bitches (25 (58%) spayed), 35 male dogs (21 (60%) neutered) with an age of 4.7±3.6 years (mean ± STD). Average current body weight was 18.9 kg ±14.1 and corresponded approximately to the ideal body weight estimated by the owners (18.6 kg ±14.1). 4 (5%) of the dogs were judged by the owners to be underweight, 55 (70%) ideal, 14 (18%) a little overweight, 5 (6%) overweight. Owner’s evaluation of BCS averaged 4.54±1.13, veterinary’s evaluation was significantly higher with 5.20±1.20 (difference of 0.77±0.59; p<0.05). Although the awareness of the importance of adequate nutrition and activity for pets is rising among pet owners, they are overwhelmed by the variety of diets and sources of information available. This might lead to malnutrition and identifies a clear need for competent specialists of pet nutrition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Animal Nutrition
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:07 Sep 2016 13:00
Last Modified:29 Sep 2016 08:57
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0931-2439
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291439-0396
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-125929

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