European dog owner perceptions of obesity and factors associated with human and canine obesity
Beer Ljubić, Blanka
Bravo-Cantero, Antonio F.
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Obesity is a common nutrition-related disorder leading to reduced life expectancy in both humans and dogs. With the aim of identifying new prevention and control options, the study objectives were (1) to investigate dog-owner perceptions about obesity in terms of themselves and their dogs, and (2) to identify factors associated with obesity and possible social, environmental and economic drivers for its development in dog owners and their pets. A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was performed across multiple countries. The questionnaire focused on human and canine obesity, associated factors and potential drivers, and was distributed online and in the form of hard copies among dog owners in 11 European countries. In total, 3,185 responses from ten countries were included in multivariable analyses. Between 19.1% and 48.8% of the dog owners reported to be overweight/obese. Ownerreported overweight/obesity in dogs ranged from 6.0% to 31.3% based on body condition score charts, and 31.8% to 69.4% based on body fat index charts. Common factors associated with obesity in owners and their dogs were age, gender and owners’ attitudes to diet and physical activity. Dog owners who did not consider obesity to be a disease were more likely to have obese dogs.