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ABSTRACT OF THE WEEK

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI
Volume 13 | Issue 6 (March 2023)

National Dog Survey: Describing UK Dog and Ownership Demographics.

Animals (Basel). March 2023;13(6):.
Katharine L Anderson1, Rachel A Casey2, Ben Cooper3, Melissa M Upjohn4, Robert M Christley5
1 Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK.; 2 Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK.; 3 Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK.; 4 Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK.; 5 Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ, UK.

Abstract

With dogs being the most commonly owned companion animal in the United Kingdom, knowledge about dog demographics is important in understanding the impact of dogs on society. Furthermore, understanding the demography of dog owners is also important to better target support to dogs and their owners to achieve optimal welfare in the canine population. Combining natural fluctuations in the population and unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for an up-to-date large-scale dataset is even more paramount. In order to address this, Dogs Trust launched the 'National Dog Survey' to provide a large population-level dataset that will help identify key areas of concern and needs of owners and their dogs. The online survey was completed by a total of 354,046 respondents owning dogs in the UK, providing data for 440,423 dogs. The results of this study highlight dog demographics, including acquisition and veterinary factors, as well as owner demographic and household information. Finally, general trends in ownership, and more specifically those following the COVID-19 pandemic, are described. This paper's findings provide valuable insight into the current population of dogs and their owners in the UK, allowing for the most appropriate products, services, interventions and regulations to be developed, reducing the likelihood of negative welfare outcomes such as health and behaviour issues, relinquishment or euthanasia. Furthermore, with significant changes to the dog population following the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted, this dataset serves as an up-to-date baseline for future study comparisons to continue to monitor trends and patterns of the dog population and dog owners going forwards.

Keywords
United Kingdom; demographics; dog; ownership;

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Archives Highlights:
National Dog Survey: Describing UK Dog and Ownership Demographics.
The online survey was completed by a total of 354,046 respondents owning dogs in the UK, providing data for 440,423 dogs. The results of this study highlight dog demographics, including acquisition and veterinary factors, as well as owner demographic and household information. This dataset serves as an up-to-date baseline for future study comparisons to continue to monitor trends and patterns of the dog population and dog owners going forwards.
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