Special Issue "The Welfare of Cats and Dogs"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Welfare".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Candace Croney
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Guest Editor
Purdue University, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, West Lafayette, United States
Interests: animal welfare; animal behavior; ethics
Prof. James Ha
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
University of Washington, Department of Psychology, Seattle WA, United States
Interests: vertebrate social behavior; cognition; and welfare
Dr. Shanis Barnard
Website
Guest Editor
Purdue University, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, West Lafayette, United States
Interests: animal behavior; welfare and cognition
Dr. Hannah Flint
Website
Guest Editor
Purdue University, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, West Lafayette, United States
Interests: animal welfare; animal behavior; epidemiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the keeping of companion animals has become ubiquitous, the relationships between people and companion dogs and cats continue to evolve in their diversity and significance in modern society. In developed Western nations, for example, it is estimated that a majority of households keep at least one cat or dog and these animals are increasingly characterized as family members. In addition to providing social support for people, cats and dogs may facilitate human therapeutic interventions, serve as biomedical models of human health conditions, or perform various forms of work for human benefit. Despite the numerous ways in which companion cats and dogs enhance human quality of life, such animals continue to face myriad welfare challenges in the various environments in which they are commonly kept, requiring ongoing scientific and ethical consideration of their needs and interests. Advancements in the sciences of animal welfare and their applications to cats and dogs are therefore critical to better understand and meet their needs, and to support the human-animal bond.

We invite original research papers that address novel methods for evaluating the welfare of cats and dogs as a function of their selection, housing, care and management in homes, shelters/rescues, research, breeding, or veterinary clinical environments. Additional topics may include the effects of human-animal interactions on canine or feline welfare, interactions between behavior, nutrition, health and/or welfare, genetic aspects of cat or dog welfare, public perceptions of canine or feline welfare and associated practices, and ethical issues associated with the keeping of cats and dogs.

Prof. Candace Croney
Prof. James Ha
Dr. Shanis Barnard
Dr. Hannah Flint
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Companion animal
  • cats
  • dogs
  • animal welfare
  • behavior
  • health
  • human-animal bond

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Owners’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Care Practices: Exploring the Implications for Domestic Cat Behavior and Welfare in the Home
Animals 2019, 9(11), 978; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110978 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Available research on the link between domestic cats’ environment and welfare has primarily been conducted in animal shelters or research facilities; a better understanding of the welfare of cats living in homes is needed. This study measured the attitudes of current U.S.-based cat [...] Read more.
Available research on the link between domestic cats’ environment and welfare has primarily been conducted in animal shelters or research facilities; a better understanding of the welfare of cats living in homes is needed. This study measured the attitudes of current U.S.-based cat owners towards cats as pets; owner knowledge about normal cat behavior and environmental needs; current trends in cat care; cats’ behavior in the home; and the human-animal bond. The primary hypothesis was that owners with a more accurate understanding of cat behavior and a stronger reported bond with their cats would report fewer behavior problems. Data from an online, anonymous, cross-sectional survey of 547 cat owners supported the primary hypothesis: owner knowledge, along with two measures of the human-animal bond (owner-pet interactions, and perceptions of affordability of cat ownership), were significant predictors of the number of reported behavior problems. In addition to fewer reported behavior problems, greater owner knowledge about cats was correlated with less use of positive-punishment-based responses to misbehavior, and increased tolerance of potential behavior problems when present. Owners’ agreement with certain misconceptions about cats and perception of high costs of care were correlated with the use of positive punishment in response to misbehavior. Based on the survey results, many cats living in private homes may be receiving only minimal environmental enrichment. Collectively, these results suggest the need for better education of cat owners. Topics could include: understanding normal cat behavior and correcting misconceptions; enrichment needs (particularly of indoor-only cats) and the risk of behavior problems when cats’ needs are not met; welfare risks associated with declawing; and the importance of sufficient resources to minimize social and territorial conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes in Conjunction with the Secure Base Effect for Dogs in Shelter and Foster Environments
Animals 2019, 9(11), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110932 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Although it is widely accepted that dogs and humans form attachment relationships, characterizing attachment styles in dogs has only recently received attention in the literature. Previous research has shown that pet dogs display patterns of behavior in an attachment test that can be [...] Read more.
Although it is widely accepted that dogs and humans form attachment relationships, characterizing attachment styles in dogs has only recently received attention in the literature. Previous research has shown that pet dogs display patterns of behavior in an attachment test that can be classified into secure and insecure attachment styles, much like human children and their caretakers. However, we currently know relatively little about the role of attachment styles in relation to canine well-being. This question may be of particular interest for the 3.9 million dogs that enter animal shelters in the United States alone each year, as this transition marks the dissolution of prior bonds and the establishment of new attachment relationships. Herein, results are presented from analyses of volunteer-reported canine personality and behavior measures, as well as performance on two cognitive tasks as they relate to attachment styles developed within shelter and foster environments. Results from the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) indicated that foster dogs were scored as having significantly higher levels of attachment and attention-seeking behaviors when compared with shelter dogs. In both environments, dogs categorized as securely attached to a shelter or foster volunteer had lower neuroticism scores. Secure attachment in foster homes was also associated with improved persistence and performance on a point following task. These results provide support for the idea that attachment styles formed with temporary caregivers is associated with other behavioral and personality measures, and therefore may have implications for behavior and welfare in dogs living in foster homes and animal shelters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Revisiting a Previously Validated Temperament Test in Shelter Dogs, Including an Examination of the Use of Fake Model Dogs to Assess Conspecific Sociability
Animals 2019, 9(10), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100835 - 20 Oct 2019
Abstract
This study assessed the feasibility and reproducibility of a previously validated temperament test (TT) for shelter dogs. The test was developed to measure dog behaviour in the kennel, and traits of sociability towards people and other dogs, docility to leash, playfulness, cognitive skills, [...] Read more.
This study assessed the feasibility and reproducibility of a previously validated temperament test (TT) for shelter dogs. The test was developed to measure dog behaviour in the kennel, and traits of sociability towards people and other dogs, docility to leash, playfulness, cognitive skills, and reactivity. We introduced the use of differently sized fake dogs to check their appropriateness in correctly assessing sociability to dogs to broaden its applicability (as the original study used real stimulus dogs). We hypothesised that dogs’ responses may be modulated by the body size of the stimulus dog presented. The reduction analysis of the TT scores extracted five main dimensions (explaining 70.8% of variance), with high internal consistency (alpha > 0.65) and being broadly consistent with existing research. Behavioural components that were extracted from the fake dog experiment showed that dogs are likely to show signs of anxiety and fear toward both the real and fake dog. Dogs’ responses towards a real vs. fake stimulus were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) and they were not affected by the size of the stimulus (p > 0.05). We discuss the importance of interpreting these data with caution and use behavioural tests as a partial screening tool to be used in conjunction with more extensive behavioural and welfare monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Stress in Dogs Involved in Animal-Assisted Interventions
Animals 2019, 9(10), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100833 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are co-therapies in which the animal is an integral and active part of the treatment process. Dogs are widely involved in AAI projects, but little data are available to determine if AAI sessions are a source of stress for the [...] Read more.
Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) are co-therapies in which the animal is an integral and active part of the treatment process. Dogs are widely involved in AAI projects, but little data are available to determine if AAI sessions are a source of stress for the dogs. Understanding the emotional state of animals and highlighting any signal of stress is crucial maintaining the wellness of the animals and in enhancing the probability of success of the AAI. The purpose of this study is to assess if dogs present signs of stress during animal assisted therapies sessions. The sample consisted of nine dogs, belonging to the members of the A.N.U.C.S.S. (the National Association for the Use of Dogs for Social Aims) association. Dogs lived with their owners and their health was checked by a vet once a week. Patients involved in the AAI project had disabilities due to mental disorder and/or psychomotor problems. During the therapeutic sessions, patients had to guide the dog along facilitated agility routes and/or perform the activities of cuddling and brushing the dog. When a dog accomplished a task, the patient gave him/her a reward (throwing a ball or a biscuit). Dogs were observed for a total of 174 h, 47 h before, 81 h during, and 46 h after AAI sessions. Each session of observation lasted 10–30 min. The differences of behavioural patterns in the three contexts were analysed by mean of the non-parametric Friedman test. Dogs never showed aggressive and stereotyped behaviour; the level of anxious behaviour was low and similar in all three kinds of sessions. During therapeutic sessions, attention, affiliative behavioural patterns, and sniffing behaviour increased. The highest level of attention of dogs was directed toward their conductor, rather than to the patient and to the other operator present. The results suggest that the amount of work dogs went through was adequate and that dogs did not show behavioural signs of stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Shelters Reflect but Cannot Solve Underlying Problems with Relinquished and Stray Animals—A Retrospective Study of Dogs and Cats Entering and Leaving Shelters in Denmark from 2004 to 2017
Animals 2019, 9(10), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100765 - 05 Oct 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Data covering about 90% of the estimated intake of dogs and cats to Danish shelters from 2004 to 2017 were used to study the effects of tight control of dogs and of efforts to increase shelter services for unwanted or stray cats. During [...] Read more.
Data covering about 90% of the estimated intake of dogs and cats to Danish shelters from 2004 to 2017 were used to study the effects of tight control of dogs and of efforts to increase shelter services for unwanted or stray cats. During the period, there was a low and decreasing intake of dogs, while the annual proportion of euthanised dogs increased from 6% to 10%. The number of cats entering shelters increased by about 250%, while the annual proportion of euthanised cats increased from 15% to about 29%. At the same time, there seemed to be a decrease in the population of stray cats. The major increase in cat intake may be due to animal protection non-governmental organizations (NGOs) making it easier to relinquish cats into shelters. Dog shelters can successfully handle surplus animals because dogs are well controlled by owners and are tightly regulated. Cats are more difficult to confine, are often allowed to roam freely and are less regulated. Therefore, cat shelters cannot solve the problem of surplus cats on their own. It is argued that an economic analysis may serve as a point of departure for a discussion on better policy making for NGOs in charge of shelters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
The Behavioural Effects of Innovative Litter Developed to Attract Cats
Animals 2019, 9(9), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090683 - 14 Sep 2019
Abstract
Urination and/or defecation outside a designated location has been reported as the most common behavioural reason for surrendering a cat and comprises approximately 30% of cat intakes to shelters. The objective of this study was to determine whether cats would increase in-box elimination [...] Read more.
Urination and/or defecation outside a designated location has been reported as the most common behavioural reason for surrendering a cat and comprises approximately 30% of cat intakes to shelters. The objective of this study was to determine whether cats would increase in-box elimination when provided a plant-based litter product with attractant (ATTRACT) compared to the same plant-based litter product without attractant (PLANT). Sixteen cats were split into two equal cohorts based on availability from the shelter and group-housed in an enriched room with eight identical litter boxes arranged in a circular pattern equidistant from each other. Following a two-week room acclimation and transition period from clay litter to PLANT litter, boxes were designated either PLANT or ATTRACT litter, balancing for cats’ prior box location preferences. For 14 days following litter allocation, cat behaviours such as sniffing, digging, covering, urinating, and defecating were video recorded for 12 h daily. The cats urinated more often in the ATTRACT litter, suggesting that they preferred the ATTRACT litter for urination more than the PLANT litter (p < 0.05). The most significant differences observed were between genders, with males spending significantly more time sniffing and performing urination behaviours (p < 0.05). These results suggest that litter with an attractant may be more effective in eliciting usage for urination, as compared to a litter without the additive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Laterality as a Tool for Assessing Breed Differences in Emotional Reactivity in the Domestic Cat, Felis silvestris catus
Animals 2019, 9(9), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090647 - 03 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cat breeds differ enormously in their behavioural disposition, a factor that can impact on the pet-owner relationship, with indirect consequences for animal welfare. This study examined whether lateral bias, in the form of paw preference, can be used as a tool for assessing [...] Read more.
Cat breeds differ enormously in their behavioural disposition, a factor that can impact on the pet-owner relationship, with indirect consequences for animal welfare. This study examined whether lateral bias, in the form of paw preference, can be used as a tool for assessing breed differences in emotional reactivity in the cat. The paw preferences of 4 commonly owned breeds were tested using a food-reaching challenge. Cats were more likely to be paw-preferent than ambilateral. Maine Coons, Ragdolls and Bengals were more likely to be paw-preferent than ambilateral, although only the Bengals showed a consistent preference for using one paw (left) over the other. The strength of the cats’ paw use was related to cat breed, with Persians being more weakly lateralised. Direction of paw use was unrelated to feline breed, but strongly sex-related, with male cats showing a left paw preference and females displaying a right-sided bias. We propose that paw preference measurement could provide a useful method for assessing emotional reactivity in domestic cats. Such information would be of benefit to individuals considering the acquisition of a new cat, and, in the longer term, may help to foster more successful cat-owner relationships, leading to indirect benefits to feline welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Could Greater Time Spent Displaying Waking Inactivity in the Home Environment Be a Marker for a Depression-Like State in the Domestic Dog?
Animals 2019, 9(7), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070420 - 05 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Dogs exposed to aversive events can become inactive and unresponsive and are commonly referred to as being “depressed”, but this association remains to be tested. We investigated whether shelter dogs spending greater time inactive “awake but motionless” (ABM) in their home-pen show anhedonia [...] Read more.
Dogs exposed to aversive events can become inactive and unresponsive and are commonly referred to as being “depressed”, but this association remains to be tested. We investigated whether shelter dogs spending greater time inactive “awake but motionless” (ABM) in their home-pen show anhedonia (the core reduction of pleasure reported in depression), as tested by reduced interest in, and consumption of, palatable food (KongTM test). We also explored whether dogs being qualitatively perceived by experts as disinterested in the food would spend greater time ABM (experts blind to actual inactivity levels). Following sample size estimations and qualitative behaviour analysis (n = 14 pilot dogs), forty-three dogs (6 shelters, 22F:21M) were included in the main study. Dogs relinquished by their owners spent more time ABM than strays or legal cases (F = 8.09, p = 0.032). One significant positive association was found between the KongTM measure for average length of KongTM bout and ABM, when length of stay in the shelter was accounted for as a confounder (F = 3.66, p = 0.035). Time spent ABM also correlated with scores for “depressed” and “bored” in the qualitative results, indirectly suggesting that experts associate greater waking inactivity with negative emotional states. The hypothesis that ABM reflects a depression-like syndrome is not supported; we discuss how results might tentatively support a “boredom-like” state and further research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessArticle
Coping Styles in the Domestic Cat (Felis silvestris catus) and Implications for Cat Welfare
Animals 2019, 9(6), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060370 - 18 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Identifying coping styles in cats may lead to improved health and welfare. The aims of this study were to (1) identify individual differences in response to acute confinement, and (2) to assess the predictability of guardian-rated personality traits on behavior. Adult cats ( [...] Read more.
Identifying coping styles in cats may lead to improved health and welfare. The aims of this study were to (1) identify individual differences in response to acute confinement, and (2) to assess the predictability of guardian-rated personality traits on behavior. Adult cats (n = 55) were singly housed in enriched cages and behavioral observations were recorded for three days. On day 3, familiar and unfamiliar person approach tests were conducted. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) were quantified from voided samples. A questionnaire assessing personality traits and sickness behaviors was completed by each guardian. Analysis identified two clusters—cats in Cluster 1 (n = 22) were described as shy, calm, mellow, and timid; cats in Cluster 2 (n = 33) were described as active, playful, curious, and easygoing. Multilevel mixed-effects GLM revealed significant differences between the clusters including food intake (C1 > C2, p < 0.0001), affiliative/maintenance behaviors (C2 > C1, p < 0.0001), vocalization (C2 > C1, p < 0.0001), hide (C1 > C2, p < 0.0001), perch (C2 > C1, p < 0.0001), and latency to approach a familiar (C1 > C2, p < 0.0001) and unfamiliar (C1 > C2, p = 0.013) person. No statistically significant differences in FGM concentrations were identified (cluster p = 0.28; day p = 0.16, interaction p = 0.26). Guardian-rated personality traits agreed with the response of the cats when confined to a cage, suggesting that domestic cats have different coping styles. Identifying individual differences in response to stressful events or environments may provide caretakers with important information leading to improved welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Uncontrolled Outdoor Access for Cats: An Assessment of Risks and Benefits
Animals 2020, 10(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020258 - 06 Feb 2020
Abstract
Uncontrolled outdoor access is associated with a number of welfare concerns for companion cats, including increased risks of disease and parasites, injury or death due to traffic, predation or ingestion of toxic substances, and getting permanently separated from their owner. In addition, cats [...] Read more.
Uncontrolled outdoor access is associated with a number of welfare concerns for companion cats, including increased risks of disease and parasites, injury or death due to traffic, predation or ingestion of toxic substances, and getting permanently separated from their owner. In addition, cats pose a threat to local wildlife due to predatory behaviors, and can sometimes be a nuisance to human neighbors. Despite these concerns, recent estimates suggest that many owners are still providing their cats with uncontrolled outdoor access, likely because it also offers welfare benefits by allowing cats to perform natural behaviors, such as hunting, exploring, and climbing. While some have suggested that outdoor access is necessary to meet cats’ behavioral needs and to prevent related behavioral problems, others have recommended various environmental enrichment strategies that can be developed to meet these needs within an indoor environment or through supervised and controlled outdoor access. This review examines the welfare issues and benefits associated with outdoor access for cats, as well as what is currently known about peoples’ practices, knowledge, and attitudes about the provision of outdoor access for cats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
Open AccessReview
The Welfare of Pig-Hunting Dogs in Australia
Animals 2019, 9(10), 853; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100853 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Hunting feral pigs using dogs is a popular recreational activity in Australia. Dogs are used to flush, chase, bail, and hold feral pigs, and their use for these activities is legal in some states and territories and illegal in others. However, there is [...] Read more.
Hunting feral pigs using dogs is a popular recreational activity in Australia. Dogs are used to flush, chase, bail, and hold feral pigs, and their use for these activities is legal in some states and territories and illegal in others. However, there is little knowledge about the health and welfare of dogs owned specifically for the purpose of pig hunting. We conducted a review of the literature on working dogs in Australia and overseas to determine the likely welfare impacts confronting pig-hunting dogs. We identified numerous challenges facing pig-hunting dogs throughout their lives. Risks to welfare include overbreeding, wastage due to behavioural incompatibilities, the use of aversive training techniques including electronic shock collars, solitary kenneling and tethering, high exposure to infectious diseases including zoonotic diseases, inadequate vaccination and anthelmintic prophlyaxis, high incidence of traumatic and other injuries during hunts, climatic exposure during transportation, mortality during hunts, and a suboptimal quality of life after retirement. There are also significant welfare concerns for the wild pigs hunted in this manner. We conclude that research needs to be conducted in order to determine the current health and welfare of pig-hunting dogs, specifically in Australia. The humaneness of this method of pest control urgently requires further assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessReview
Improving the Welfare of Companion Dogs—Is Owner Education the Solution?
Animals 2019, 9(9), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090662 - 06 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Vets, animal welfare charities, and researchers have frequently cited educating owners as a necessity for improving the welfare of companion dogs. The assumption that improving an owner’s knowledge through an education intervention subsequently results in improvements in the welfare of the dog appears [...] Read more.
Vets, animal welfare charities, and researchers have frequently cited educating owners as a necessity for improving the welfare of companion dogs. The assumption that improving an owner’s knowledge through an education intervention subsequently results in improvements in the welfare of the dog appears reasonable. However, the complexity of dog welfare and dog ownership and the context in which these relationships occur is rapidly changing. Psychology has demonstrated that humans are complex, with values, attitudes, and beliefs influencing our behaviours as much as knowledge and understanding. Equally, the context in which we individuals and our dogs live is rapidly changing and responding to evolving societal and cultural norms. Therefore, we seek to understand education’s effectiveness as an approach to improving welfare through exploring and understanding these complexities, in conjunction with the relevant research from the disciplines of science education and communication. We argue that well designed and rigorously evaluated education interventions can play a part in the challenge of improving welfare, but that these may have limited scope, and welfare scientists could further consider extending cross-disciplinary, cross-boundary working, and research in order to improve the welfare of companion dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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Open AccessReview
Acquiring a Pet Dog: A Review of Factors Affecting the Decision-Making of Prospective Dog Owners
Animals 2019, 9(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040124 - 28 Mar 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Given the prevalence of pet dogs in households throughout the world, decisions regarding dog acquisition affect many people each year. Across the stages of dog acquisition there is potential for practices that may promote or compromise canine welfare. For instance, prospective owners may [...] Read more.
Given the prevalence of pet dogs in households throughout the world, decisions regarding dog acquisition affect many people each year. Across the stages of dog acquisition there is potential for practices that may promote or compromise canine welfare. For instance, prospective owners may not fully understand the time, energy and financial commitment entailed in their decision to acquire a dog. Thus, it is pressing that stakeholders, including those working in the canine welfare sector, refine their ability to identify and respond to trends in the behavior of potential dog owners. The motivations, attitudes and behaviors of current and prospective dog owners is a small but growing area of interdisciplinary study. Yet, no synthesis of the evidence exists. To address this gap, this critical review collates data and insights from studies published by academic researchers and animal welfare charities. The most widely reported factors associated with acquisition behavior include: the dog’s physical appearance, behavior and health; social influences, such as trends in the popularity of certain breeds; demographic and socioeconomic factors; and the owner’s previous ownership experience. Overall, the research discussed in this paper highlights that complex interactions likely underpin the various factors that might influence prospective owners’ motivators and behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Welfare of Cats and Dogs)
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