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Dogs and Their Owners Have Frequent and Intensive Contact

By P. Joosten, A. Van Cleven, S. Sarrazin, D. Paepe, A. De Sutter, J. Dewulf

Category Journal Articles

Contact and interactions between owners and their pets may have beneficial physical and social effects on people, but may also facilitate the transmission of zoonotic agents and resistant bacteria. To estimate the risk of these contacts, more information regarding the frequency and intensity of this physical contact is required. Therefore, an online survey was conducted among pet owners resulting in 701 completed questionnaires. Questions regarding the interactions between dogs and owners were linked with a score from 1 (limited interactions) to 3 (highly intense interactions). After scoring these self-reported interactions, a contact intensity score was calculated for each respondent by summing up the different allocated scores from all questions. This contact intensity score was used to identify predictors of more intense contact based on a multivariable linear regression model. Interactions between dogs and their owners were widespread (e.g., 85.3% of the dogs licked their owner’s hand) and intense (e.g., 49.3% of owners reported being licked in the face). The gender, age, and place of residence (city, village, or countryside) of the respondent, together with the size and age of the dog, were significantly associated with the contact intensity score in the multivariable model. On average, female respondents younger than 65 years who lived in the city and had a small young dog had the most intense contact with it. Further research is necessary to evaluate the risk of these interactions in light of zoonotic and antimicrobial resistance transfer.

Date 2020
Publication Title International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 17
Issue 12
Pages 10
ISBN/ISSN 1661-7827 (Print)1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ijerph17124300
Language English
Author Address Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.Small Animal Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adolescents
  2. Adults
  3. Age
  4. Animals
  5. antimicrobial resistance
  6. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  7. Bonds
  8. Companion
  9. Dogs
  10. Females
  11. Human-animal interactions
  12. Humans
  13. Lines
  14. Males
  15. Middle Aged Adults
  16. open access
  17. Ownership
  18. Pet ownership
  19. Pets and companion animals
  20. Public health
  21. surveys
  22. Young Adult
  23. Zoonoses
  1. open access