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Are some dogs perceived as more sensitive to pain?

M. E. Gruen, P. White, B. Hare

PLoS ONE (2020) 15

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230315

• What did the research find?

Over 90 per cent of the survey respondents believed that there were differences in pain sensitivity among dog breeds. Both the general public and vets rated smaller, lighter dogs as being more sensitive to pain than taller, heavier dogs. The general public also rated breeds associated with breed-specific legislation, such as pit bull terriers, as having lower pain sensitivity. The variance in the vets’ ratings was low, with little difference between recent graduates and those with more experience.

• How was it conducted?

An online survey was distributed to 1078 vets and 1053 members of the general public living in the USA. Demographic information including age, gender, education level and experience with dogs was collected from all participants, and year of graduation was also collected for vets. Using an 11-point rating scale, participants were asked to rate …

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