New study offers troubling snapshot of pet health and wellness in Canada
TORONTO, June 15, 2011 /CNW/ - A new research study of the state of pet
health and wellness in Canada has found that the choices owners are
making about their pets' nutrition and exercise could be affecting the
length and quality of their pets' lives.
Canada's Pet Wellness Report; a research study of 1,000 Canadian dog
and/or cat owners and 100 veterinarians, by the Canadian Veterinary
Medical Association (CVMA) in partnership with Hill's Pet Nutrition,
makers of Science Diet® brand pet food, provides a 360° snapshot of pet
health in Canada, including exercise, nutrition, veterinary care, life
stage (age)-related needs and overall health status.
The study revealed that pet owners are missing the visible signs of
common health issues such as obesity and dental disease that are key to
their pets living longer, healthier lives.
"Overall, the research suggests that addressing the exercise,
nutritional and dental care needs of pets is key to enhancing pet
health and wellness in the country," says veterinarian and member of
the CVMA Executive, Dr. Jim Berry.
Internet and channel surfing overshadow pet exercise time
According to the study, owners might not be making pet exercise a
priority and as a result veterinarians are seeing the consequences:
On an average weekday, pet owners spend nearly twice as much time
surfing the Internet (48 minutes) and three times as much time watching
TV (79 minutes) as they do playing with/exercising their pets (25
Even on the weekend, when pet owners might have more disposable time,
they still spend an average of three times as much time per day
watching TV (89 minutes) and far more time surfing the Internet (44
minutes) than playing with/exercising their pets (29 minutes).
Veterinarians believe that the majority of dogs (55%) and cats (70%)
they see do not receive an adequate amount of exercise to maintain good
"Pet owners need a better understanding of the health implications of
inadequate exercise of their pets and the importance of basic
decisions, such as what and how to feed them," says Dr. Berry.
"Otherwise their pets might be at risk for a range of broader health
issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and mobility issues."
Dishing the goods on obesity
The findings suggest pet owners also need to adjust how they evaluate
what food to buy for their pets and how they feed them, since their
choices could have weighty consequences:
When it comes to pet food shopping, veterinarians believe pet owners
consider the price and best value offered by a pet food over the food's
ability to meet their pets' health or life stage-related needs.
Pet owners admit that they are nearly twice as likely to buy a pet food
based on what their pet likes to eat (60%) vs. what will actually meet
their health needs (33%).
Just two in 10 (18%) pet owners feed their pets the amount recommended
on the pet food package and only 17% closely review the ingredient
Overall pet owners (44.5%) are most likely to feed their pets by "making
food available to their pet(s) at all times", which is more common
among cat owners (57%) than dog owners (32%).
Furthermore, the research indicates that veterinarians are seeing the
consequences of poor decisions about pet nutrition:
Veterinarians (63%) are most likely to cite weight control as one of the
most important things pet owners can do to increase the length and
quality of their pets' lives, yet only one in 10 pet owners proactively
ask veterinarians about nutrition.
Veterinarians (65%) say overfeeding is by far the most common mistake
pet owners make when feeding their dogs or cats.
Veterinarians say pet owners are often surprised when their pets are
diagnosed as obese.
Missing the Signs of Health Issues
One of the most compelling findings from the study is that pet owners
might be missing the obvious signs of health issues in their pets.
Obesity and dental disease are the two most commonly diagnosed health
problems dog and cat owners are surprised to learn about during
veterinary exams. Meanwhile, veterinarians consider a pet's weight,
clean teeth and fresh breath among the best indicators of good overall
pet health that pet owners can observe at home.
About the research
Canada's Pet Wellness Report is based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid
poll conducted between April 18 and April 27, 2011, on behalf of the
CVMA and Hill's Pet Nutrition. A sample of 1,043 pet owners from Ipsos'
Canadian online panel was interviewed online. A survey with an
unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate
would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points,
19 times out of 20.
A survey of practicing Canadian veterinarians was also conducted using a
sample provided by the CVMA. A survey with an unweighted probability
sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated
margin of error of +/- 9.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), in partnership with
Hill's Pet Nutrition, developed Canada's Pet Wellness Report to help
educate Canadians about how proper exercise, love and attention,
nutrition and veterinary care can all help ensure pets live long, happy
and healthy lives.
Canada's Pet Wellness Report can be downloaded at www.Hillspet.ca and www.canadianveterinarians.net and www.facebook.com/ScienceDietCanada.
SOURCE Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
For further information:
please visit www.harbingerideas.com/petreport
To arrange an interview with Dr. Jim Berry, please contact:
Sarah Bush, Harbinger Communications