F.G. Vassalo; F.S. Agostinho; S.C. Rahal; E.G.M. Siqueira; M.S. Castilho; W.T. Kano
Department of Veterinary Surgery and Anesthesiology, Universidade Estadual Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita Filho," Botucatu, Brazil
Overweight and obesity rates in dogs have increased at an alarming level. Weight loss programs require multifaceted approach and long-term monitoring, to avoid weight gain again. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the rates of overweight and obesity in dogs, to assess the owner's perception about the dog's body condition, and to stablish the profile between normal and overweight dogs. The owners initially filled out one questionnaire about the dog's lifestyle. After this, body condition scores based on a five-point scale was determined by the owner, first by verbal description, and second by choosing drawings of dogs. A veterinarian also classified the dogs. Of the 100 dogs surveyed, 54% were overweight or obese. The female and older dogs were more prone to gain weight. Compared with the veterinarian's assessment, the owners underestimated their dog's body condition score in 53.7% and 42.6%, respectively, by verbal description and visual scale. Despite the difficulty identifying when their dogs are overweight or obese, all owners agreed that both conditions are risk factors for diseases. Thus, increase the owner's perception to identify body condition score is essential to maintain ideal weight.