Owners' Experience and Satisfaction in Treating Obese Dogs in Brazil--A Survey
K.P. Aptekmann1; A.M. Vargas2; D.S. Schwartz3
Supported by Intervet, Schering-Plough Animal Health Company and CAPES.
Obesity is the most common nutritional disease in dogs. It needs a continuous weight control and pets become dependent on their owners for the success of the treatment and maintenance of the quality of life. Therefore, it is important to evaluate owner experience and satisfaction in treating an obese dog in order to improve the management currently used based on survey information. A survey was developed and questionnaires were distributed by mail to the main veterinary clinic centers in São Paulo, Brazil. A total of 52 dog owners completed the questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed and descriptive data were reported. The results showed that the treatment performed by the owners included mainly dietary change, exercise and to avoid offering snacks or treats. Therefore, many of them simply reduced the amount of food offered. Many dogs lost weight after initiating the treatment and half of the owners were satisfied with the therapy. However, only few owners believed the dog was losing weight as they hoped. They assumed that people in the household, including them, did not follow correctly the recommendations for the weight loss program. Almost half of the respondents believed the treatment is easy to perform, although they thought it is expensive. The majority stated to be committed to continue the treatment. The cost of the treatment was referred as the main difficulty in treating an obese dog. The survey provides some important information for veterinarians, based on owners' opinion that may help improve the management of obesity in dogs.