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Factors affecting quality of life of dogs kennelled in rehoming centres

J. Kiddie, L. Collins

FOR practical and financial reasons, kennel environments used for dogs in rehoming centres are often restricted in size and complexity, offering limited environmental and social stimulation. Several factors have been shown to contribute to short-term behavioural and physiological stress in these dogs, but if the dog cannot adapt then it can become chronically stressed. The quality of life (QoL) of kennelled dogs is therefore a concern. This study aimed to identify environmental and management factors that might affect QoL in dogs kennelled in rehoming centres.

Two hundred and two dogs were recruited from 13 rehoming centres and were assigned to one of four treatment groups (long stay dogs with an enriched routine, long stay dogs with a standard routine, newly admitted dogs with an enriched routine, and newly admitted dogs with a standard routine). The QoL of each dog (in terms of behaviours indicating positive and negative QoL, as well as three measures of physical health) was assessed by two different members of staff and these two scores were then averaged to give the dog a final QoL score. The dogs' scores from each centre were then …

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