Online Program

Owner Perceptions of Physical Activity and Diet in Overweight Dogs: A One Health Approach

Monday, November 2, 2015

Erin Prapas, MA, MPH(c), Center for Disaster Research and Analysis, Colorado School of Public Health, Fort Collins, CO
Lorann Stallones, MPH, PhD, School of Public Health at Colorado State University, Colorado School of Public Health, Fort Collins, CO
Genevieve Forster, BS, candidate DVM/PhD, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Elizabeth Ryan, PhD, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
The human-animal bond has been associated with positive influences on human emotional well-being with less known about the role in physical health. The purpose of this study is to reveal owner perceptions and behaviors regarding healthy weight, diet, and physical activity in their dogs. We hypothesize that dog health assessments related to overweight and obese body types may influence positive behavior changes in humans. Dog owners completed questionnaires before, during and after their dogs participated in short or long term weight loss studies. Information was obtained on diet and feeding patterns as well as routine activity. Forty-five adult dogs were enrolled and randomized based on their body condition score (BCS), similar to a body mass index in humans. Dogs were evenly distributed between diet intervention groups in terms of age, weight, BCS, and sex. The analysis examined responses to a series of questions on dog behavior, diet, quality of life, and physical activity. Results show that owners whose dogs lost weight reported improved quality of life in their companion animals. There were differences between perceived and actual physical activity. This work demonstrates a knowledge-gap through owners’ perceptions about their overweight dogs that may relate to the human-obesity epidemic. Future studies will include simultaneous assessments of owners and their dogs' nutrition, physical activity, and health status including weight and chronic conditions. Connecting human and animal knowledge about weight loss, diet, and physical activity may incite healthy behavior change and lead to improved public health prevention programs benefiting owners and companion species.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe owner perceptions of dogs’ physical activity and nutrition. Describe owner perceptions of dogs’ overweight status compared with veterinarian. Discuss One Health linkages between human and companion animal obesity.

Keyword(s): Veterinary Public Health, Weight Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have focused my career on behavioral factors of health. Through my work and academic research, I have developed a keen interest in the intersection of human health, environmental well-being, nutrition, and the built environment. By combining my current degree in history with one in public health, I work to empower populations to make proactive choices about their lifestyles. I am dedicated to finding alternatives for increased symbiosis between people, culture, and the environment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.