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Jog with your dog: dog owner exercise routines predict dog exercise routines and perception of ideal body weight

By S. Banton, M. von Massow, J. G. Pezzali, A. Verbrugghe, A. K. Shoveller

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Canine obesity is becoming an increasingly prevalent concern among companion animal veterinarians and professionals alike. A number of sociodemographic, dietary, and exercise related variables have been shown to be predictive of a dog's bodyweight, however, all previous surveys designed to address these variables have been focussed on only one area of the world at a time. The objective of this survey was to investigate how an owner's exercise routine influences their dog's exercise routine and which of the owner's dietary and exercise habits influence their perception of their dog's body weight. The survey included respondents across France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. The survey was distributed online via Qualtrics (Qualtrics XM, Utah, USA) and a total of 3,298 responses were collected, equally distributed across country and between sexes. Comparison of column proportions and multinomial logistic regression were performed in SPSS Statistics (Version 26, IBM Corp, North Castle, New York, USA). Respondents from Germany were more likely to exercise their dog for a longer amount of time, rank the importance of exercise as extremely important, report that their dog is an ideal body weight, and were less likely to report that someone (including a veterinarian) had told them their dog was overweight. Results from linear regression revealed that those who had been told their dog was overweight, those who restrict their dog's food intake to control weight, those who select a weight control diet and those who give their dog more other foods (treats, table scraps, fruits/vegetables) on a daily basis were all less likely to believe that their dog is an ideal body weight. In contrast, only those who reported doing more vigorous exercise themselves or those who reported that their dog performs vigorous exercise were more likely to believe that their dog is an ideal body weight. The results highlight owner's perceptions of healthy weight and the role of nutrition and exercise. Owner's intentions and attitudes towards the value of exercise and promoting an ideal body weight in their dog should be explored, but may require a One Health approach to ensure successful weight management among both dogs and their owners.

Publication Title PLoS One
Volume 17
Issue 8
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0272299
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Biosciences, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal injuries
  2. Animal physiology
  3. Animals
  4. Anthropology
  5. Anthrozoology
  6. APEC countries
  7. Attitudes
  8. Biochemistry
  9. Biology
  10. Body weight
  11. Canada
  12. Canidae
  13. Canine
  14. Carnivores
  15. Commonwealth of Nations
  16. Countries
  17. Diets
  18. Diseases and injuries of animals
  19. Dogs
  20. Europe
  21. Exercise
  22. France
  23. Germany
  24. Human development
  25. Income
  26. Mammals
  27. Mediterranean region
  28. North America
  29. Nutrition
  30. obesity
  31. OECD countries
  32. Pets and companion animals
  33. physical activity
  34. physiology
  35. Psychiatry and psychology
  36. risk factors
  37. Social psychology and social anthropology
  38. surgery
  39. United States of America
  40. vertebrates
  41. Veterinary sciences
  42. Weight
  43. Zoology