Impact of the First COVID-19 Lockdown on Management of Pet Dogs in the UK
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Survey Tool
2.2. Inclusion Criteria
2.4. Data Analysis
3.1. Owner Demographics and Household Characteristics
3.2. Dog Demographics
3.3. Changes in Daily Routine
3.4. Changes in Dog–Human Interactions
3.5. Changes in the Time That the Dog Is Left Home Alone
3.6. Changes in Dog Walking Practices: Frequency and Duration
3.7. Changes in the Number of Dogs “Met” on an Average Day
3.8. Choice of Walk Location, Use of Short/Long Leads, and Interactions with Other Dogs
3.9. Changes in the Frequency of Enrichment Practices Such as Provision of Toys, as Well as Playing and Training with People
4.1. Changes in Dog Walking Practices
4.2. Changes in Interactions with People and Other Dogs
4.3. Changes to Enrichment Practices
4.4. Limitations and Future Research
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|How much time does (dog name) currently spend with adults in the house, compared with early/mid-February (e.g., because of working longer shifts as a key worker, increased working from home, furlough or redundancy)?|
|Currently much more||1965||49.3|
|Currently a little more||819||20.5|
|About the same||1160||29.1|
|Currently a little less||25||0.6|
|Currently much less||17||0.4|
|Compared to an average term-time week during early/mid-February 2020, (dog name) has spent...|
|Much more time with the child(ren) in the household||405||71.3|
|A little more time with the child(ren) in the household||86||15.1|
|The same amount of time with the child(ren) in the household||66||11.6|
|A little less time with the child(ren) in the household||2||0.4|
|Much less time the child(ren) in my household||9||1.6|
|Variable||Before Lockdown |
(The Last 7 Days)
|n||%||Cumulative %||n||%||Cumulative %|
|Days left alone (for at least 5 min) in a week (n = 4276, χ2 = 2584.3, df = 7, p-value < 0.0001)|
|Not at all||622||14.5||14.5||2473||57.8||57.8||4.0|
|Maximum duration left alone (n = 4272, χ2 = 2767.5, df = 6, p-value < 0.0001)|
|Not at all||336||7.9||7.9||2041||47.8||47.8||6.1|
|Less than 5 min||33||0.8||8.6||149||3.5||51.3||4.5|
|1 or more hours but less than 3 h||1454||34.0||51.6||892||18.5||94.6||0.5|
|3 or more hours but less than 6 h||1691||39.6||91.2||168||3.9||98.5||0.1|
|6 or more hours||375||8.8||100.0||63||1.5||100.0||0.2|
|Variable||Before Lockdown |
(The Last 7 Days)
|n||%||Cumulative %||n||%||Cumulative %|
|Number of walks (n = 4408, χ2 = 731.07, df = 4, p-value < 0.0001)|
|1 per day||1498||33.4||34.4||2218||49.5||51.9||1.5|
|2 per day||2012||44.9||79.4||1623||36.2||88.1||0.8|
|3 per day||678||15.1||94.5||382||8.5||96.7||0.6|
|4+ per day||247||5.5||100.0||150||3.3||100.0||0.6|
|Total duration of walks (n = 4480, χ2 = 70.16, df = 4, p-value < 0.0001)|
|<30 min per day||349||7.7||8.6||313||6.9||9.4||0.9|
|30–60 min per day||1788||39.6||48.2||1861||41.1||50.4||1.0|
|1–2 h per day||1733||38.3||86.6||1730||38.2||88.6||1.0|
|2+ h per day||609||13.5||100.0||518||11.4||100.0||0.9|
|Number of other dogs met on an average day (on walks or in an indoor space) |
(n = 4297, χ2 = 1129.6, df = 3, p-value < 0.0001)
|1 or 2 dogs in total||1418||33.0||41.6||1811||42.1||68.5||1.3|
|3 to 5 dogs in total||1503||35.0||76.5||906||21.2||89.6||0.6|
|6 or more dogs in total||1009||23.5||100.0||448||10.4||100.0||0.4|
(The Last 7 Days)
|Choice of walk location (n = 4389, χ2 = 641.49, df = 2, p-value < 0.0001)|
|Avoid walking in places where there were likely to be other dogs||943||21.5||1518||34.6||1.6|
|Go to places with other dogs to allow (my dog) to play||966||22.0||364||8.2||0.4|
|Choose the walk based on reasons other than the likelihood of meeting other dogs||2480||56.5||2510||57.2||1.0|
|Use of lead (n = 4537, χ2 = 391.32, df = 4, p-value < 0.0001)|
|Off lead to heel||377||8.3||420||9.3||1.1|
|Off lead not to heel||1959||43.2||1430||31.5||0.7|
(The Last 7 Days)
|Relative Change||McNemar’s χ2 Statistic||p-Value|
|Places dogs were walked (n = 4618)|
|Rural, out in the countryside||2585||56.7||2112||46.3||0.8||266.17||<0.001|
|Village or suburban, with some houses and some open space||2050||44.9||2022||44.3||1.0||1.25||0.3|
|Urban, with lots of houses||782||17.1||749||16.4||1.0||2.55||0.1|
|Busy, with lots of people about||461||10.1||466||10.2||1.0||0.02||0.9|
|Quiet, with few people about||1692||37.1||1558||34.2||0.9||18.58||<0.001|
|No dogs, or very rarely any dogs||590||12.9||694||15.2||1.2||18.68||<0.001|
|Other dogs, but almost always on leads||955||20.9||1167||25.6||1.2||56.93||<0.001|
|Other dogs, mostly off the lead||1467||32.2||908||19.9||0.6||344.05||<0.001|
|N/A—not walked during this time||41||0.9||108||2.4||2.6||52.48||<0.001|
|Permitted interactions with other dogs (n = 2595)|
|Unfamiliar dogs, if (my dog) was on the lead||2505||56.9||1329||30.2||0.5||1058.76||<0.001|
|Familiar dogs, if (my dog) was on the lead||3023||68.6||1934||43.9||0.6||956.95||<0.001|
|No dogs, if (my dog) was on the lead||690||15.7||1054||23.9||1.5||220.35||<0.001|
|N/A—(my dog) was not walked on the lead||354||8.0||306||6.9||0.9||14.34||<0.001|
|Unfamiliar dogs, if (my dog) was off the lead||1700||38.6||1062||24.1||0.6||531.11||<0.001|
|Familiar dogs, if (my dog) was off the lead||2431||55.2||1624||36.9||0.7||688.90||<0.001|
|No dogs, if (my dog) was off the lead||344||7.8||494||11.2||1.4||71.62||<0.001|
|N/A—(my dog) was not walked off the lead||837||19.0||963||21.9||1.2||48.52||<0.001|
|N/A—(my dog) avoids other dogs||581||13.2||622||14.1||1.1||9.25||0.001|
|Currently much less||1810||43.3|
|Currently a little less||671||16.0|
|The same—no socialising||615||14.7|
|About the same—some socialising||801||19.2|
|Currently a little more||209||5.0|
|Currently much more||76||1.8|
|Variable||Odds Ratio||Lower Confidence Limit||Upper Confidence Limit||z||p-Value|
|Model 1: decreased number of walks per day (n = 3307)|
|Age of respondent||0.003|
|75 years or older||0.8||0.5||1.4||−0.6||0.5|
|Village or small town||1.6||1.3||2.1||3.9||<0.001|
|City or urban||1.5||1.1||2.0||2.6||0.01|
|I can walk straight out with (my dog) off lead||Reference|
|I can walk out with (my dog) on a lead and can access an area for off lead exercise||1.5||1.1||2.0||2.5||0.01|
|I need to take (my dog) by car or public transport to access an area for off lead exercise||1.6||1.1||2.4||2.5||0.01|
|I do not walk (my dog) off lead||1.9||1.4||2.7||3.7||<0.001|
|Age of dog||0.003|
|Puppy (≤6 months)||1.4||0.6||3.0||0.7||0.5|
|Juvenile (7 months to <12 months)||1.9||1.3||2.7||3.2||0.001|
|Young adult (1 to <2 years)||1.4||1.1||1.8||2.5||0.01|
|Mature adult (2 to 6 years)||1.1||0.9||1.4||1.3||0.2|
|Senior adult (7 to 11 years)||Reference|
|Geriatric (≥12 years)||0.7||0.5||1.1||−1.5||0.1|
|Number of adults in household||<0.001|
|New/additional dog walker||0.002|
|Model 2: Reduction in total duration of walks per day (n = 3843)|
|Village or small town||1.5||1.2||1.9||3.0||0.003|
|City or urban||1.9||1.4||2.6||4.2||<0.001|
|I can walk out with (my dog) on a lead and can access an area for off lead exercise||Reference|
|I can walk straight out with (my dog) off lead||1.3||0.9||1.8||1.6||0.1|
|I need to transport (my dog) by car or public transport to access an area for off lead exercise||2.7||1.9||4.0||5.1||<0.0001|
|I do not walk (my dog) off lead||1.7||1.2||2.4||2.8||0.005|
|Number of adults in household||<0.0001|
(The Last 7 Days)
|In a week, how often have you, or someone else in your household, played games with or done some training with (your dog)?|
(n = 4101 Stuart–Maxwell χ2 = 414.76, df = 7, p-value < 0.001)
|Less than once a week||118||2.9||110||2.7||0.9|
|Once or twice||437||10.7||323||7.9||0.7|
|Once a day||778||19.0||627||15.3||0.8|
|More than once a day||1570||38.3||1989||48.5||1.3|
|N/A—(my dog) did not take part in any games or training||146||3.6||161||3.9||1.1|
|Don’t know/can’t remember||28||0.7||16||0.4||0.6|
|In a week, how often was (your dog) given a toy to play with?|
(n = 4109, Stuart–Maxwell χ2 = 56.042, df = 7, p-Value = <0.001)
|Less than once a week||138||3.4||130||3.2||0.9|
|Once or twice||322||7.8||278||6.8||0.9|
|Once a day||480||11.7||458||11.1||1|
|More than once a day||2251||54.8||2331||56.7||1|
|N/A—(my dog) was not given a toy||242||5.9||257||6.3||1.1|
|Do not know/cannot remember||49||1.2||35||0.9||0.8|
|Variable||Odds Ratio||Lower Confidence|
|Increased play/training (n = 3192)|
|Village or small town||1.3||0.96||1.6||1.6||0.1|
|City or urban||1.3||0.9||1.8||1.5||0.1|
|75 years or older||0.1||0.02||0.3||−3.3||0.001|
|Puppy (≤6 months)||0.2||0.1||0.7||−2.2||0.03|
|Juvenile (7 months to <12 months)||1.0||0.6||1.5||0.1||0.9|
|Young adult (1 to <2 years)||Reference|
|Mature adult (2–6 years)||0.9||0.7||1.1||−1.0||0.3|
|Senior adult (7–11 years)||0.8||0.6||1.1||−1.6||0.1|
|Geriatric (≥12 years)||0.6||0.4||0.9||−2.2||0.03|
|Total duration of walks per day||<0.001|
|New/additional dog walker||<0.001|
|Increased provision of toys (n = 3783)|
|75 years or older||0.6||0.03||2.9||−0.5||0.6|
|Total duration of walks per day||0.005|
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Christley, R.M.; Murray, J.K.; Anderson, K.L.; Buckland, E.L.; Casey, R.A.; Harvey, N.D.; Harris, L.; Holland, K.E.; McMillan, K.M.; Mead, R.; Owczarczak-Garstecka, S.C.; Upjohn, M.M. Impact of the First COVID-19 Lockdown on Management of Pet Dogs in the UK. Animals 2021, 11, 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010005
Christley RM, Murray JK, Anderson KL, Buckland EL, Casey RA, Harvey ND, Harris L, Holland KE, McMillan KM, Mead R, Owczarczak-Garstecka SC, Upjohn MM. Impact of the First COVID-19 Lockdown on Management of Pet Dogs in the UK. Animals. 2021; 11(1):5. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010005Chicago/Turabian Style
Christley, Robert M., Jane K. Murray, Katharine L. Anderson, Emma L. Buckland, Rachel A. Casey, Naomi D. Harvey, Lauren Harris, Katrina E. Holland, Kirsten M. McMillan, Rebecca Mead, Sara C. Owczarczak-Garstecka, and Melissa M. Upjohn. 2021. "Impact of the First COVID-19 Lockdown on Management of Pet Dogs in the UK" Animals 11, no. 1: 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010005