Characteristics of obese or overweight dogs visiting private Japanese veterinary clinics
Objective: To characterize obese or overweight dogs that visited private Japanese veterinary clinics located in humid subtropical climate zones. Methods: Dogs were categorized into four body condition score groups and five body size groups based on their breed. Multilevel logistic regression models were applied to the data. A Chi-squared test was used to examine whether the percentage of obese or overweight dogs differed between breeds. Results: There were 15.1% obese dogs and 39.8% overweight dogs. Obese dogs were characterized by increased age and female sex, whereas overweight dogs were characterized by increased age and neuter status (P < 0.05). Peak probabilities of dogs being either obese or overweight were between 7 and 9 years of age, with the probabilities then declining as the dogs got older. For example, in toy sized dogs, the probability of dogs being overweight increased from 33.4% to a peak of 55.1% as dog age rose from 1 to 8 years old. Also, in medium, small and toy sized dogs, neutered dogs were more likely to be overweight than intact dogs, whereas neutered small sized dogs were more likely to be obese than intact small sized dogs (P < 0.05). Additionally, the percentages of obese or overweight dogs differed between the 10 selected breeds with the highest percentage of obese or overweight dogs. Conclusions: By taking age, body size, sex and neuter status into account, veterinarians can advise owners about maintaining their dogs in ideal body condition.
Supported by the Research Project Grant (Giken 2012–2016 A) from Meiji University.