To pet or to enrich? Increasing dogs’ welfare in veterinary clinics/shelters: a pilot study

Lopes, J, Daud, N, Young, RJ ORCID: and de Azevedo, C ORCID: 2022, 'To pet or to enrich? Increasing dogs’ welfare in veterinary clinics/shelters: a pilot study' , Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 52 , pp. 31-36.

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Undesirable and problematic behaviors such as an increase in aggressiveness and attempts to escape are frequently provoked when a pet dog is maintained for long periods in stressful environments such as veterinary clinics or shelters. Environmental enrichment and petting are strategies to increase dogs’ welfare. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate which of these techniques is better at improving dogs’ welfare in a unique veterinary clinic setting based on the dogs’ behavioral responses. Eight dogs were studied, with 4 receiving environmental enrichment and 4 receiving petting (direct human contact). Behaviors were recorded before, during, and after applications. These conditions were compared using generalized linear mixed models and Friedman's test. Both methods proved to be efficient and feasible for dogs in this type of setting. In general, environmental enrichment increased the activity of the dogs, since they walked and dug more compared to dogs who were petted. Dogs exhibited more positive social interactions after petting. The other behaviors were exhibited in the same proportion in both treatments. Thus, both interventions may be used to decrease anxiety and undesirable behaviors related to a sheltered environment and should be tested in a standard veterinary clinic environment.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Veterinary Behavior
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1558-7878
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2022 11:40
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:40

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