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Associations between obesity and physical activity in dogs : a preliminary investigation

Morrison, R and Penpraze, V and Beber, A and Reilly, J J and Yam, P S (2013) Associations between obesity and physical activity in dogs : a preliminary investigation. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 54 (11). pp. 570-574.

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Objectives: To assess whether obesity has any association with objectively measured physical activity levels in dogs. Methods: Thirty-nine dogs wore Actigraph GT3X accelerometers (Actigraph) for 7 consecutive days. Each dog was classified as ideal weight, overweight or obese using the 5-point body condition scoring system. Total volume of physical activity and time spent in sedentary behaviour, light-moderate intensity physical activity and vigorous intensity physical activity were compared between body condition categories. Results: Valid accelerometry data were returned for 35 of 39 dogs recruited. Eighteen dogs were classed as ideal weight, 9 as overweight and the remaining 8 as obese. All dogs spent a significant proportion of the day sedentary and obese dogs spent significantly less time in vigorous intensity physical activity than ideal weight dogs (7 ±3 minute/day versus 21 ±15 minute/day, P=0·01). Clinical Significance: Obesity is associated with lower vigorous intensity physical activity in dogs, as is also thought to occur in humans. These preliminary findings will help inform a future, larger study and may also improve our understanding of the associations between obesity and physical activity in dogs.