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The quality of life of pet dogs owned by elderly people depends on the living context, not on the owner's age

By E. Pitteri, P. Mongillo, S. Adamelli, S. Bonichini, L. Marinelli

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Social and physical changes associated with human aging may influence the characteristics of the relationship between dogs and their owners and ultimately pets' quality of life. In view of the need of data on this aspect, this study examined the effects of owners' age on the quality of life of dogs. We compared parameters of dogs' quality of life (owners' care and attachment to them and pets' physical condition) between elderly and adult owners living in rural/suburban areas of 2 cities in Northern Italy. Within this context, the only finding was the lower degree of health care provided to dogs by their elderly owners, suggesting a lack of specific information about dog health care, rather than a general effect of the owners' age on the relationship with their pet. Dogs' quality of life parameters were also compared between elderly people living in rural/suburban areas and another sample of elderly people living in city centers. The latter were more attached to their dogs and provided them with a higher level of care. In conclusion, this study found very limited concerns about the adoption of dogs late in their owners' lives. However, in view of the importance of the living context of the elderly on their pets' quality of life, this aspect warrants further investigation.

Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume 9
Issue 2
Pages 72-77
ISBN/ISSN 1558-7878
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.11.002
Language English
Author Address Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padova, Viale dell'Universita 16, 35020 Legnaro, PD,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. Aging
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal health and hygiene
  5. Animals
  6. Areas
  7. Canidae
  8. Canine
  9. Carnivores
  10. Characteristics
  11. Developed countries
  12. Dogs
  13. Effect
  14. Europe
  15. Health
  16. Humans
  17. Italy
  18. Mammals
  19. Mediterranean region
  20. Men
  21. OECD countries
  22. Older adults
  23. peer-reviewed
  24. pet care
  25. Primates
  26. quality
  27. Quality of life
  28. rural areas
  29. urban areas
  30. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed