Owner Misperception of Canine Body Shape: an Important Determinant of Canine Obesity?

Courcier, E., Yam, P.S. , Thomson, R.M. and Mellor, D.J. (2009) Owner Misperception of Canine Body Shape: an Important Determinant of Canine Obesity? 12th Symposium of the International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Durban, South Africa, 10-14 Aug 2009.

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Canine obesity has been identified as a major health and welfare issue. One problem seen in human obesity is the mismatch between a person’s perception of their body shape and their actual body shape (misperception). The aims of this study were to assess whether misperception occurred when owners assessed their dog’s body shape and then to assess whether this was associated with particular owner characteristics. Data were gathered by personal interview in five primary veterinary clinics in the U.K. In addition, the interviewer rated the dog’s body condition. Six hundred and eighty responses were included in the analysis. Misperception occurred in nearly half of owners with over three quarters of these owners underestimating their dog’s body shape. None of the tested owner factors were associated with overestimation of body shape. Within owners with overweight dogs, being a male owner and having an income below the UK median were identified as risk factors for underestimation. These factors were similar to those reported in human misperception studies. The results demonstrated that owner misperception of canine body shape was widespread within our study population. Underestimation seemed to follow owner demographic and socioeconomic lines. Understanding the complexity of factors that lead to misperception may be instrumental in canine obesity prevention and treatment.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Yam, Dr Philippa and Mellor, Professor Dominic
Authors: Courcier, E., Yam, P.S., Thomson, R.M., and Mellor, D.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine

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