A total of 8268 dogs were surveyed in 11 veterinary practices in the United Kingdom during a period of six months in 1983. The primary purpose of the survey was to assess the level of obesity on a five point scale with properly identified criteria. Information on the clinical condition of each dog was also recorded as well as proportions of food types fed, particulars of breed, sex, age, sexual status and the dog's name. Results showed that 21.4 per cent of dogs in the survey were judged to be obese and 2.9 per cent gross; 1.9 per cent were judged as thin, 13.5 per cent lean and 60.3 per cent were optimum. Labradors were found to be the most likely breed to become obese. Neutered females were about twice as likely to be obese as entire females. The same trend was evident with neutered males. Circulatory problems were associated with dogs over 10 years old and those which were gross, rather than obese. A similar trend was discernable with articular/locomotor problems. Skin and reproductive problems showed little relationship with age or obesity. Neoplasia was much more prevalent in dogs over 10 years old but had little relationship with either sexual status or obesity rating. There was a high rate of usage of prepared food for all categories. The amount of fresh food fed decreased rapidly as the proportion of canned food increased, but the obese and non-obese dogs showed very little difference in the type of food fed.
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