The Relationship Between Dog-Related Factors and Owners' Attitudes Toward Pets: An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study in Korea.
ABSTRACT: In Korea, there is a need for research on human-animal relationships because of an increase in the number of companion animals and the positive changes in public perception toward them. Few studies have examined these changes. This epidemiological study investigates the characteristics of Korean dog owners and their pet dogs and identifies the owner- and dog-dependent factors that influence the owners' attitudes toward pets. We conducted a cross-sectional study of dog owners by asking them to complete a Pet Attitude Scale-based questionnaire about their dogs and themselves. The participants included 654 young adults between 19 and 39 years of age who lived in Seoul and owned dogs. We found that most dogs were owned by single, educated, high-income men who preferred small purebred dogs. Most were also likely to underestimate their dog's body condition score (BCS). The multivariable logistic regression (odds ratio, OR) and the multiple linear regression (unstandardized coefficients, B) models suggested that positive pet attitudes were associated with nine factors: overweight (OR = 2.68, B = 5.28) or a normal BCS (OR = 2.09, B = 5.58), having a medical history of related diseases (OR = 2.36, B = 6.38) and vaccination (OR = 2.10, B = 6.22), buying the pet dog (OR = 0.60, B = -3.85), having a small dog (?10 kg) (OR = 1.66), visiting the veterinarian frequently (OR = 1.08, B = 0.39), spending more time with the dog (OR = 1.23, B =1.32), and keeping other species in the house (B = -4.27). This study is the first to identify the relationships between owner- and dog-dependent factors and pet owner attitude toward pets, all within a Korean cultural context. This study highlights the factors associated with the development of relationships between pet dogs and their owners. The exploratory study is novel because it examines pet ownership in the context of the Korean culture; previous pet ownership studies were set in the West and are analyzed with Western cultural values in mind.
Project description:PURPOSE:This study evaluated dog and cat allergies and their association with allergen avoidance measures in Korean adults. METHODS:The study population consisted of 537 adults who currently kept dogs or cats and participated in a pet exhibition in Korea. The subjects were asked to complete questionnaires regarding pet ownership, allergen avoidance, and allergy symptoms, and underwent skin prick tests. They were considered to have a dog or cat allergy if they suffered from one or more of allergy symptoms during contact with their pets. RESULTS:In total, 103 of 407 dog owners (25.3%) and 45 of 130 cat owners (34.6%) had a dog or cat allergy, respectively. Dog owners kept 1.3±1.5 dogs; this number did not differ according to the presence of dog allergy. Dog owners with a dog allergy had owned their dogs longer than those without (88.0±72.0 vs 67.5±72.7 months, P<0.05). Cat owners kept 2.1±3.6 cats; this number did not differ according to the presence of cat allergy, nor did the duration of cat ownership. Cat owners with a cat allergy had facial contact and slept with their cats less frequently (8.6±11.9 vs 18.3±27.0 times/day, P<0.01; 71.1% vs 81.2%, P<0.05); however, they had their cats shaved and beds cleaned less frequently than those without (1.8±3.3 vs 3.2±4.4 times/year, P<0.05; 1.5±1.5 vs 3.9±6.0 times/month, P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS:Cat owners with a cat allergy tried to minimize contact with their cats, but efforts to avoid indoor cat allergens were lower than those without. In comparison, dog owners with a dog allergy had kept their dogs for longer time than those without; however, current contact with their dogs and allergen avoidance measures did not differ between the 2 groups.
Project description:Pets have numerous, effective methods to communicate with their human hosts. Perhaps most conspicuous of these are distress vocalizations: in cats, the 'miaow' and in dogs, the 'whine' or 'whimper'. We compared a sample of young adults who owned cats and or dogs ('pet-owners' n = 264) and who did not (n = 297) on their ratings of the valence of animal distress vocalizations, taken from a standardized database of sounds. We also examined these participants' self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, and their scores on a measure of interpersonal relationship functioning. Pet-owners rated the animal distress vocalizations as sadder than adults who did not own a pet. Cat-owners specifically gave the most negative ratings of cat miaows compared with other participants, but were no different in their ratings of other sounds. Dog sounds were rated more negatively overall, in fact as negatively as human baby cries. Pet-owning adults (cat only, dog only, both) were not significantly different from adults with no pets on symptoms of depression, anxiety or on self-reported interpersonal relationship functioning. We suggest that pet ownership is associated with greater sensitivity to negative emotion in cat and dog distress vocalizations.
Project description:Objective:To investigate the association of pet ownership, and specifically dog ownership, with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk factors and cardiovascular health (CVH) in the Kardiovize Brno 2030 study, a randomly selected prospective cohort in Central Europe. Patients and Methods:We included 1769 subjects (aged from 25 to 64 years; 44.3% males) with no history of CVD who were recruited from January 1, 2013, to December 19, 2014. We compared sociodemographic characteristics, CVD risk factors, CVH metrics (ie, body mass index, healthy diet, physical activity level, smoking status, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol), and score between pet owners and non-pet owners or dog owners and several other subgroups. Results:Approximately 42% of subjects owned any type of pet: 24.3% owned a dog and 17.9% owned another animal. Pet owners, and specifically dog owners, were more likely to report physical activity, diet, and blood glucose at ideal level, and smoking at poor level, which resulted in higher CVH score than non-pet owners (median, 10; interquartile range = 3 vs median, 9; interquartile range = 3; P=0.006). Compared with owners of other pets, dog owners were more likely to report physical activity and diet at ideal level. The comparison of dog owners with non-dog owners yielded similar results. After adjustment for covariates, dog owners exhibited higher CVH scores than non-pet owners (?=0.342; SE=0.122; P=0.005), other pet-owners (?=0.309; SE=0.151; P=0.041), and non-dog owners (?=0.341; SE=0.117; P=0.004). Conclusion:Except for smoking, dog owners were more likely to achieve recommended level of behavioral CVH metrics (physical activity and diet) than non-dog owners, which translated into better CVH.
Project description:People who avoid eating animals tend to share their homes with animal companions, and moral dilemma may arise when they are faced with feeding animal products to their omnivorous dogs and carnivorous cats. One option to alleviate this conflict is to feed pets a diet devoid of animal ingredients-a 'plant-based' or 'vegan' diet. The number of pet owners who avoid animal products, either in their own or in their pets' diet, is not currently known. The objective of this study was to estimate the number of meat-avoiding pet owners, identify concerns regarding conventional animal- and plant-based pet food, and estimate the number of pets fed a plant-based diet. A questionnaire was disseminated online to English-speaking pet owners (n = 3,673) to collect data regarding pet owner demographics, diet, pet type, pet diet, and concerns regarding pet foods. Results found that pet owners were more likely to be vegetarian (6.2%; 229/3,673) or vegan (5.8%; 212/3,673) than previously reported for members of the general population. With the exception of one dog owned by a vegetarian, vegans were the only pet owners who fed plant-based diets to their pets (1.6%; 59/3,673). Of the pet owners who did not currently feed plant-based diets but expressed interest in doing so, a large proportion (45%; 269/599) desired more information demonstrating the nutritional adequacy of plant-based diets. Amongst all pet owners, the concern most commonly reported regarding meat-based pet foods was for the welfare of farm animals (39%; 1,275/3,231). The most common concern regarding strictly plant-based pet foods was regarding the nutritional completeness of the diet (74%; 2,439/3,318). Amongst vegans, factors which predicted the feeding of plant-based diets to their pets were concern regarding the cost of plant-based diets, a lack of concern regarding plant-based diets being unnatural, and reporting no concern at all regarding plant-based diets for pets. Given these findings, further research is warranted to investigate plant-based nutrition for domestic dogs and cats.
Project description:Background. Failure among pet owners to neuter their pets results in increased straying and overpopulation problems. Variations in neutering levels can be explained by cultural differences, differences in economic status in rural and urban locations, and owner perceptions about their pet. There are also differences between male and female pet owners. There is no research pertaining to Irish pet owner attitudes towards neutering their pets. This paper identified the perceptions of a sample of Irish cat and dog owners that influenced their decisions on pet neutering. Methods. This study was conducted using social science (qualitative) methods, including an interview-administered survey questionnaire and focus group discussions. Data was coded and managed using Nvivo 8 qualitative data analysis software. Results. Focus groups were conducted with 43 pet (cats and dogs) owners. Two major categories relating to the decision to neuter were identified: (1) enabling perceptions in the decision to neuter (subcategories were: controlling unwanted pet behaviour; positive perceptions regarding pet health and welfare outcomes; perceived owner responsibility; pet function; and the influence of veterinary advice), and (2) disabling perceptions in the decision to neuter (subcategories were: perceived financial cost of neutering; perceived adequacy of existing controls; and negative perceptions regarding pet health and welfare outcomes). Discussion. Pet owner sense of responsibility and control are two central issues to the decision to neuter their pets. Understanding how pet owners feel about topics such as pet neutering, can help improve initiatives aimed at emphasising the responsibility of population control of cats and dogs.
Project description:The objectives were to investigate owners' ability to assign the correct bodyweight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) to their dog and to interpret wet and dry pet food labels by estimating how much to feed daily. One hundred and seventy-four questionnaires were completed. Owner estimated BW was compared to actual BW, correct being defined within ±10% of actual BW. Correct interpretation of the total amount of food required was determined by the number of cans (±25% of cans) required for wet food and grams (±20% of grams) for dry food, based on the dog's actual BW, the feeding guidelines on the label, and a comparison with the owner's estimate. Eleven percent of owners overestimated BCS and 19% overestimated BW. Only 48% of owners could correctly estimate their dog's BW. Only 23% and 43% of owners could correctly estimate how much wet and dry food to feed, respectively. Chi-square analysis demonstrated a significant positive association for owners correctly estimating their dog's BW and interpreting the wet pet food label. Many owners are not aware of their pet's BCS and BW and cannot accurately interpret pet food labels. Further owner education to improve these skills is needed if dogs are to be fed correctly.
Project description:BACKGROUND: There are no peer reviewed data on dog control records from an official agency in Ireland. In order to address this, a total of 2,669 official dog control service records generated during 2007 by Cork County Council dog control service were reviewed. RESULTS: Over 70 percent of records related to unwanted dogs and dogs not under their owners control. Stray dogs were collected by the service regularly throughout the year but with notable increase in voluntary surrenders by owners from January through to April. The majority of dogs collected or surrendered were male (2:1 ratio), of medium size, described as having a friendly temperament and were not wearing a neck collar. The Crossbreed and Greyhound breeds were more frequently collected as strays, while Greyhounds and German Shepherds were more frequently voluntarily surrendered by their owner. Restricted breeds such as Pit Bull terriers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers were more frequently reported by members of the public for aggressive behaviour while the only restricted breed reported for biting or snapping was the German Shepherd. CONCLUSIONS: Routine recording of dog control services in County Cork provide data on responsible dog ownership including the licensing of breeds, and surrender of owned dogs and the collection of stray dogs. Data capture and utilisation of dog control services by local authorities has potential to inform policy on responsible dog ownership and education programmes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>This study investigated whether the body condition score (BCS) and/or culture influences the quality of life (QoL) of dogs, as evaluated by the owner, and whether the BCS is influenced by feeding and exercise and its owner's culture. To this end, a questionnaire was administered to 355 selected dog owners (Thai and Dutch). Their dogs had a BCS of 3 (normal weight), 4 (overweight) or 5 (obese) but no other physical problems. Instead of using Likert scales, continuous scales were used. Further, data for the questionnaire items were transformed using an integrated z-score methodology.<h4>Results</h4>The magnitude of factor loadings was similar to that reported in a previous study, indicating that the questionnaire is not culture specific. QoL scores for general sickness were significantly higher (worse) in dogs with a higher BCS. Thus even though the dogs were apparently healthy, the BCS influenced the perceived QoL of the dog. Immobility was seen more often in dogs with a higher (poorer) BCS than in dogs with a lower (better) BCS; however, there was no clear relationship between immobility and total activity. The higher the BCS, the less owners felt in control of feeding and exercise. The BCS was higher in the dogs of owners who did not like to exercise. The Thai dogs showed more separation-related behaviour problems when their owner left home than did the Dutch dogs.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The QoL of overweight and obese dogs is mainly influenced by the dog's physical status. The owners of dogs with a high BCS have less perceived control over feeding and exercise. Our findings indicate that owner attitudes and beliefs essentially cause obesity as a result of a lack of knowledge and perceived control.
Project description:Individuals working in high-risk occupations (e.g., emergency staff) are exposed to high levels of occupational stress including traumatic events. Correspondingly, several studies report high rates of mental health problems among these occupations. Pet ownership has been associated with better mental health. However, to date a study on the association between pet ownership and indicators of mental health in these occupations is missing. The present cross-sectional survey (N = 580) investigated pet ownership, attachment to pets, health-benefitting factors (i.e., sense of coherence, trait-resilience, locus of control) and psychopathological symptoms (i.e., general mental health problems, posttraumatic stress, burnout) in medical staff, police officers, and firefighters. Dog owners and non-dog owners showed comparable levels of psychopathological distress and health-benefitting factors. Compared to cat owners, dog owners demonstrated stronger emotional attachment to their pet. Moreover, a stronger attachment was also linked to higher levels of psychopathological symptoms and lower levels of health-benefitting factors. However, the relationship between attachment to pets and health-benefitting factors could be explained by their overlap with psychopathological symptom levels. Overall, our findings are not in line with the notion that pet ownership generally has a health-benefitting effect. Future studies need to investigate circumstances that modulate positive effects of pet ownership.
Project description:Popularity of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds is increasing internationally despite well-documented intrinsic health and welfare problems associated with their conformation. Given this apparent paradox, greater understanding of the expectations and reality for brachycephalic dog owners and factors driving the dog-owner bond are needed. This study reports a large-scale online survey with valid responses from 2168 owners of brachycephalic dogs (Pugs: n = 789, median age of dogs 2.5 years; French Bulldog: n = 741, median age 2.0 years; Bulldogs: n = 638, median age 2.5 years). The most common owner-reported disorders in their dogs were allergies, corneal ulcers, skin fold infections and Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). One-fifth (19.9%) of owners reported that their dog had undergone at least one conformation-related surgery, 36.5% of dogs were reported with a problem with heat regulation, and 17.9% with problems breathing. Despite awareness of their dog's health issues, 70.9% owners considered their dog to be in very good health or the best health possible. Paradoxically, just 6.8% of owners considered their dog to be less healthy than average for their breed. Dog owner-relationships were extremely strong across all three breeds. Emotional closeness to their dog was highest for owners of Pugs, female owners, and owners with no children in the household. Ownership of brachycephalic dog breeds is a complex phenomenon, characterised by extremely strong dog-owner relationships and unrealistic perceptions of good health set against high levels of disease in relatively young dogs. Perceptual errors in owner beliefs appear to exist between brachycephalic owner perspectives of their own dog's health versus the health of the rest of their breed, which may be fuelled by cognitive dissonance processes. These novel data improve our understanding of the cognitive processes and relationships that facilitate the rising popularity of breeds that paradoxically are affected by high levels of conformation-related morbidity.