Preliminary evaluation of a quality-of-life screening programme for pet dogs



Objectives: To evaluate a potential screening programme that would raise awareness of welfare consideration of pet dogs visiting a veterinary practice.

Methods: The questionnaire asked owners to provide biographical information about their dog, assess the resources they provided their dog (comfort, exercise, diet, mental stimulation and companionship) from the perspective of their dog’s wellbeing and choice, score a range of behavioural and medical signs on visual analogue scale, rate how willing they would be to take on the life of their dog on a visual analogue scale and suggest changes that would improve the quality of life of their dog.

Results: Twenty-seven owners completed the questionnaire on consecutive days. There was good correlation for all the parameters between the two days (P<0.05). Of the 16 expected correlations to test internal consistency, nine were significant (P<0.05). Twenty-six per cent of owners scored in the top 10 mm of the visual analogue scale for being willing to “take on the life their dog was living”. More exercise was the most commonly suggested change to improve quality of life (14 owners).

Clinical Significance: The questionnaire was found to be repeatable, feasible and to have good internal consistency and validity, making it suitable for use in veterinary practice to assess welfare.