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Owners’ views of canine nutrition, weight and wellbeing and their implications for the veterinary consultation

Wainwright, J.; Millar, K. M.; White, G. A.


J. Wainwright

Professor of Applied Bioethics


Objectives: To investigate owners’ views around canine nutrition and wellbeing, how these beliefs may differ according to the weight status of the dog and the implications for owner support approaches. Materials and Methods: A researcher-mediated questionnaire collected quantitative and qualitative data via structured interviews with dog owners (n=147) attending a country park in the East Midlands, UK, with a specific focus on views around canine nutrition and wellbeing. Results: Forty-four percent of owners cited “past experience” when determining what to feed, and only 9% of owners cited the veterinarian as a source of this information. When comparing chosen verbal description versus non-sequential body condition score images of the dog, only 22% of owners with overweight animals matched perceived verbal and visual appraisals, compared with 89% of owners of ideal weight dogs. Owners cited a good diet and regular exercise as important factors for canine wellbeing, but companionship with other dogs as the least important factor. Clinical Significance: Owners report being aware of the important association between canine nutrition and wellbeing, but their considered importance of factors influencing dog wellbeing may be influenced by their perceived weight status of the animal. Veterinarians may need to reframe owner discourse such that there is more routine discussion around weight and nutrition at every consultation. Furthermore, the use of non-sequential body condition score images could be a useful tool for a more considered opinion of canine weight status by owners.


Wainwright, J., Millar, K. M., & White, G. A. (2022). Owners’ views of canine nutrition, weight and wellbeing and their implications for the veterinary consultation. Journal of Small Animal Practice,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 2, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 20, 2022
Publication Date Jan 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 2, 2023
Journal Journal of Small Animal Practice
Print ISSN 0022-4510
Electronic ISSN 1748-5827
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Small Animals
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wainwright, J., Millar, K.M. and White, G.A. (2022), Owners’ views of canine nutrition, weight and wellbeing and their implications for the veterinary consultation. J Small Anim Pract. , which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.


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