Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Understanding the context for pet cat and dog feeding and exercising behaviour among pet owners in Ireland: a qualitative study
    Background: Pet cat and dog obesity contributes to increased risk of several diseases, including cancer and diabetes mellitus as well as a worsening of orthopaedic problems, and a reduction in survival rate. This study aims to develop a better understanding of cat and dog owners’ self-reported beliefs and factors that influence owner behaviour around feeding and exercising their pet cat or dog, as there is a lack of in-depth understanding in this area. Seven focus group discussions, with 43 pet owners in total, were conducted. Results: Pet owners often reported a perceived a low level of control over feeding; often undermined by other people feeding of their pet, their pets begging for food, and their pets attitude towards food. Treats were used in the absence of owner control over pet begging and emotional attachment, and to influence pet behaviour. The majority of participants had positive attitudes to pet exercise, which could be related to pet specific requirements, especially differences in cats and dogs. There were some negative experiences of stress associated with dog walking and fears over aggressive confrontations with other dogs. Conclusion: Feeding one’s pet is influenced by beliefs about pet specific needs, pet food and pet health, pet owners’ perceived control over feeding, and the implications for the pet owner. Pet exercise is influenced by beliefs about pet specific exercise needs, and the implications of exercising one’s pet for the pet owner. Understanding owner behaviours on feeding and exercise allows for a more targeted approach to preventing and treating pet obesity.
      467Scopus© Citations 15
  • Publication
    Neutering of cats and dogs in Ireland; pet-owner self-reported perceptions of enabling and disabling factors in the decision to neuter
    Background. Failure among pet owners to neuter their pets results in increased straying and overpopulation problems. Variations in neutering levels can be explained by cultural differences, differences in economic status in rural and urban locations, and owner perceptions about their pet. There are also differences between male and female pet owners. There is no research pertaining to Irish pet owner attitudes towards neutering their pets. This paper identified the perceptions of a sample of Irish cat and dog owners that influenced their decisions on pet neutering. Methods. This study was conducted using social science (qualitative) methods, including an interview-administered survey questionnaire and focus group discussions. Data was coded and managed using Nvivo 8 qualitative data analysis software. Results. Focus groups were conducted with 43 pet (cats and dogs) owners. Two major categories relating to the decision to neuter were identified: (1) enabling perceptions in the decision to neuter (subcategories were: controlling unwanted pet behaviour; positive perceptions regarding pet health and welfare outcomes; perceived owner responsibility; pet function; and the influence of veterinary advice), and (2) disabling perceptions in the decision to neuter (subcategories were: perceived financial cost of neutering; perceived adequacy of existing controls; and negative perceptions regarding pet health and welfare outcomes). Discussion. Pet owner sense of responsibility and control are two central issues to the decision to neuter their pets. Understanding how pet owners feel about topics such as pet neutering, can help improve initiatives aimed at emphasising the responsibility of population control of cats and dogs. 
      480Scopus© Citations 29
  • Publication
    The spatial distribution of pet dogs and pet cats on the island of Ireland
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2011) ; ; ;
    Background: There is considerable international research regarding the link between human demographics and pet ownership. In several international studies, pet ownership was associated with household demographics including: the presence of children in the household, urban/rural location, level of education and age/family structure. What is lacking across all these studies, however, is an understanding of how these pets are spatially distributed throughout the regions under study. This paper describes the spatial distribution of pet dog and pet cat owning households on the island of Ireland. Results: In 2006, there were an estimated 640,620 pet dog owning households and 215,542 pet cat owning households in Ireland. These estimates are derived from logistic regression modelling, based on household composition to determine pet dog ownership and the type of house to determine pet cat ownership. Results are presented using chloropleth maps. There is a higher density of pet dog owning households in the east of Ireland and in the cities than the west of Ireland and rural areas. However, in urban districts there are a lower proportion of households owning pet dogs than in rural districts. There are more households with cats in the urban areas, but the proportion of households with cats is greater in rural areas. Conclusions: The difference in spatial distribution of dog ownership is a reflection of a generally higher density of households in the east of Ireland and in major cities. The higher proportion of ownership in the west is understandable given the higher proportion of farmers and rural dwellings in this area. Spatial representation allows us to visualise the impact of human household distribution on the density of both pet dogs and pet cats on the island of Ireland. This information can be used when analysing risk of disease spread, for market research and for instigating veterinary care.
      2794Scopus© Citations 14