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Prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices and the risk factors involved
  1. P. D. McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, MACVSc, MRCVS1,
  2. P. C. Thomson, MSc, MAppStat, PhD1,
  3. C. Pride, BA1,
  4. A. Fawcett, BA, BSc1,
  5. T. Grassi, MBBS, BSc1 and
  6. B. Jones, BSc, DipPub, PhD2
  1. 1Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
  2. 2RSPCA Australia, PO Box 265, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia


A study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by veterinary practices across Australia, and to determine the risk factors involved; 1700 practices were asked to complete a veterinarian opinion survey, and of the 428 practices that responded, 178 were selected to complete an RSPCA Australia Pet Obesity Questionnaire, together with additional practices selected by Australian State and Territory RSPCA societies. This questionnaire was sent to a total of 209 practices which were asked to record details of eligible dogs, and the reason why they had been examined during the previous month. Fifty-two (24·9 per cent) of the practices responded and provided data on 2661 dogs, of which 892 (33·5 per cent) were overweight and 201 (7·6 per cent) were obese. A further 112 dogs (4·2 per cent) were classified as thin or very thin, but these were excluded from subsequent analyses. Of the remaining 2549 dogs, approximately half were female and 1905 (74·7 per cent) were neutered. The dogs’ weight category was influenced by several factors. Breed influenced the importance of sex and neutering as risk factors. The prevalence of overweight and obese dogs combined was 41 per cent; the prevalence increased with age up to about 10 years old, and then declined. Rural and semirural dogs were more at risk of obesity than urban and suburban dogs.

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