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The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the kind of transport dogs undergo, the behaviours displayed during transport, the prevalence of travel-related problems in dogs and owners' interventions to solve these problems. A convenience sample of 907 dog owners completed a questionnaire containing 16 multiple-choice questions. All dogs had been transported by car at least once, but 4.7 per cent were no longer transported. 76.2 per cent of animals always responded positively to car transport, the rest showing or having shown problems (6.7 per cent always reacted negatively). Dogs were found to be more excited than inhibited during car transport. The vast majority (86.0 per cent) had become used to travelling by car as puppies; this made them less likely to develop problems (6.3 per cent v 24.1 per cent; χ(2)=19.886, P=0.000). If dogs were transported only to veterinary clinics, they were more prone to respond negatively to car transport (46.4 per cent v 22.7 per cent; χ(2)=7.245, P=0.007). For dogs reported as problematic (23.8 per cent of the sample), 96.3 per cent of the owners did not administer any treatments or other substances, 48.7 per cent did not seek any advice, and 40.4 per cent of them made attempts to solve the problem by themselves.
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Survey of travel-related problems in dogs
C. Mariti, E. Ricci, M. Mengoli, M. Zilocchi, C. Sighieri, A. Gazzano
The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the kind of transport dogs undergo, the
behaviours displayed during transport, the prevalence of travel-related problems in dogs
and owners’ interventions to solve these problems. A convenience sample of 907 dog owners
completed a questionnaire containing 16 multiple-choice questions. All dogs had been
transported by car at least once, but 4.7 per cent were no longer transported. 76.2 per cent
of animals always responded positively to car transport, the rest showing or having shown
problems (6.7 per cent always reacted negatively). Dogs were found to be more excited
than inhibited during car transport. The vast majority (86.0 per cent) had become used to
travelling by car as puppies; this made them less likely to develop problems (6.3 per cent
v 24.1 per cent; χ2=19.886, P=0.000). If dogs were transported only to veterinary clinics,
they were more prone to respond negatively to car transport (46.4 per cent v 22.7 per cent;
χ2=7.245, P=0.007). For dogs reported as problematic (23.8 per cent of the sample), 96.3
per cent of the owners did not administer any treatments or other substances, 48.7 per cent
did not seek any advice, and 40.4 per cent of them made attempts to solve the problem by
themselves.
THE increasing number of dogs in society and the growing mobility
of the human population make it necessary to move dogs by differ-
ent means of transport. Most owners will need to take their dogs in
the car at some time (Gandia Estellés and Mills 2006), both for daily
mobility and travelling for leisure purposes (Wöhr and Erhard 2004).
Some animals adapt quietly to the journey, but others may dis-
play problems. Transport has been shown to be stressful for some
dogs (Beerda and others 1997, Farca and others 2006, Cannas and
others 2010). They may be phobic about the object ‘car’ (Gaultier and
Pageat 2003) and they may be anxious about a forthcoming journey
(Benchaoui and others 2007) because of fearful factors related to the
transport itself, such as strange noises, unusual balance, extreme space
reduction and climatic stress (Wöhr and Erhard 2004) or to negative
associations with the destination (Pierantoni and others 2010). Dogs
can also suffer from motion sickness (Frank and others 2006), a con-
dition connected to a sensory conflict between the signals from the
vestibular apparatus and from the visual cortex (Money and Friedberg
1964, Reason 1978, Yates and others 1998, Benchaoui and others
2007). Moreover, motion sickness could be a predisposing factor for
car phobias. Other dogs display signs typical of overexcitement, such
as excessive barking (Wells 2006), that can be challenging as well.
There are several problematic behaviours that may be displayed
during transport. Previous literature suggests that dogs may bark,
whine, jump, attempt to run around the car, salivate, seek attention
from the driver, lick themselves, cower, hide, be restless (Gandia
Estellés and Mills 2006) and/or vomit (Frank and others 2006).
Even though dogs with travel problems may be referred to as
excitable, fearful, nervous, anxious or suffering from motion sickness
(Gandia Estellés and Mills 2006), all of these different behaviours
result in a problem in the human-dog relationship, as it can prevent
dogs and their owners from travelling together (Neilson 2004).
Despite the importance of the topic, little research has been done
(Gandia Estellés and Mills 2006). As regards epidemiological data, the
prevalence of car-related problems in dogs is not well established, due
to differences in methodology that lead to inconsistent results when
previous studies are compared. For example, in Germany, 4.5 per cent
of dogs were found to be fearful within the car (Tiefenbach 2001) and
7.6 per cent of dogs belonging to a behavioural caseload displayed prob-
lems related to car transport (Döring-Schätzl and Herard 2004); 10 to 15
per cent of dogs in the USA (Osgood 1978) and 16 per cent in Europe
(Monzeglio 2008) suffer from motion sickness; 23.0 per cent of dogs
became restless when they travelled (Mills and Mills 2003); and 43.6 per
cent of dogs had car travel-related problems (Cannas and others 2010).
Regarding interventions to reduce the problem, research has been
focused on medications (Hart 1985, Yates and others 1998, Benchaoui
and others 2007) or pheromones (Gaultier and Pageat 2003, Gandia
Estellés and Mills 2006), while no scientific literature is available on
the effectiveness of car training.
Some scientific studies have been carried out on the physiologi-
cal and behavioural effects in dogs of means of transport other than
cars, such as aeroplanes (Hanneman and others 1977, Tennyson 1995,
Bergeron and others 2002) and trucks (Frank and others 2006), in spite
of the comparative rarity of dog transport by these methods.
The aim of the current study was to quantitatively assess the
kind of transport dogs undergo, the behaviours they display during
transport, the prevalence of travel-related problems, and the owners’
interventions to solve these problems. The study was carried out by a
questionnaire survey of dog owners; the broad applicability of ques-
tionnaires for measuring dogs’ behaviour (Serpell and Hsu 2001), emo-
tional state (Kerswell and others 2009), welfare (Hiby and others 2004,
Rooney and Bradshaw 2004) and behavioural problems (Gazzano and
others 2008a, b) has been demonstrated by many previous studies.
Materials and methods
The survey was carried out using a specifically prepared ques-
tionnaire. A convenience sample of 1031 dog owners filled in the
Veterinary Record doi: 10.1136/vr.100199
C. Mariti, DVM, PhD,
E. Ricci, BSc
M. Mengoli, DVM, PhD
M. Zilocchi, BSc
C. Sighieri,
A. Gazzano, DVM, PhD,
Department of Physiological Sciences,
University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge,
2 – 56124 Pisa, Italy
E-mail for correspondence:
cmariti@vet.unipi.it
Provenance: not commissioned;
externally peer reviewed
Accepted February 3, 2012
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According to respondents, 86.0 per cent
of dogs had become accustomed to car trans-
port while puppies, 7.9 per cent had not and
for 6.1 per cent this was not known.
Among respondents, 43.5 per cent
claimed not to use any means of restraint
for dogs during car transport. Table 2 shows
the possible means of restraint and the fre-
quency with which they were used.
Owners reported that dogs were usually
taken by car in the rear of an estate car (46.7
per cent), on the back seat (24.1 per cent), not in a fixed place (17.4 per
cent), at the passengers’ feet (4.7 per cent), on a passenger’s lap (3.0 per
cent), on the front seat (1.7 per cent), in the cab (0.6 per cent), on the
ledge (0.4 per cent) or other (1.3 per cent).
Most owners (65.8 per cent) did not administer anything to the
dog before travelling, 33.0 per cent provided water and 19.8 per cent
food. During the transport, dogs were reportedly provided with a
blanket (47.9 per cent), nothing (37.6 per cent), water (27.0 per cent),
toys (13.1 per cent) and food (3.5 per cent).
Regarding the quality of the dogs’ responses to car transport,
76.2 per cent of dogs were reported always to respond positively. The
remaining 23.8 per cent was divided as follows: 6.7 per cent responded
always negatively, 8.7 per cent responded negatively but stopped, 6.8
per cent showed different responses according to the situation and 1.6
per cent responded positively but started to have problems.
Dogs who had become accustomed to travel as puppies were sta-
tistically less likely to develop problems related to car transport (6.3 per
cent v 24.1 per cent; 2=19.886, P=0.000). Furthermore, if dogs were
moved only to veterinary clinics, they were more likely to respond
negatively to car transport (46.4 per cent v 22.7 per cent; 2=7.245,
P=0.007). The statistical analysis also revealed that dogs that were
not provided with any device (toy, blanket, water and/or food) during
car transport more frequently displayed problems (29.0 per cent v 20.7
per cent; 2=8.794, P=0.003). Table 3 shows the frequency of dogs’
problematic behaviours during car transport.
For dogs reported as showing problematic behaviours during car
transport (23.8 per cent of the whole sample), 96.3 per cent of owners
did not administer any treatment/substances; 1.3 per cent reported
using medications (maropitant, acepromazine, other sedative or
antiemetic drugs), 1.1 per cent used dog-appeasing pheromones, 1.1
per cent used Bach Flower Remedies and 0.2 per cent used homeo-
pathic remedies.
For dogs that showed problems during car transport, 48.7 per cent
of owners did not seek any advice and 40.4 per cent of them made
attempts to solve the problem by themselves. Respondents who had
asked or were going to ask for help (51.3 per cent) preferred to refer
to veterinarians (68.7 per cent), behaviourists (30.3 per cent) and dog
trainers using gentle methods (22.2 per cent); smaller, but still relevant,
percentages of respondents referred to people having the same problem
(11.1 per cent) or dog trainers using non-gentle methods (eg, choke col-
lar, prong collar, shock collar, physical punishment (4.0 per cent)).
Finally, the proportion of dogs transported by means other than
cars, and the relative quality of the dogs’ responses, were surveyed.
Dogs were reportedly transported by boat (18.5 per cent responded
positively v 1.4 per cent that responded negatively), train (14.8 per
cent v 1.4 per cent), bus (13.7 per cent v 1.7 per cent), bicycle (10.4 per
cent v 2.4 per cent) and motorcycle (8.8 per cent v 1.5 per cent).
Discussion
This study represents an attempt to widely analyse dog transport.
This common phenomenon is often related to many activities in
which the dog can participate, from those important for its health
(such as trips to the veterinary clinic) to recreational purposes.
A survey on a large sample of dogs was carried out. The first
remarkable result was the high number of dogs displaying travel-
related problems, approximately one in four. Previous studies found
different prevalences due to methodological differences, such as the
inclusion of dogs belonging to a behavioural caseload (Döring-Schätzl
and Herard 2004, Cannas and others 2010) or the analysis of a spe-
cific aspect of the problem, for example, motion sickness (Osgood
questionnaire anonymously between June 2009 and June 2010.
A total of 907 questionnaires were completely and properly filled
in, and therefore used for the study. Respondents were recruited in
30 Italian veterinary clinics and by personal contact. Interviewees
had to be a person actively involved in transportation of a dog.
Each questionnaire corresponded to an individual dog, for which a
single questionnaire was filled in.
Almost half of the dogs (44.9 per cent) were mixed breeds; the rest
belonged to 91 breeds of different Fédération Cynologique Internationale
groups. No breed consisted of more than 5.0 per cent of the sample. The
dogs’ mean (sd) age was 76.0 (48.6) months; the sex distribution was
48.6 per cent males (43.6 per cent entire, 5.1 per cent neutered) and 51.4
per cent females (29.7 per cent entire, 21.6 per cent neutered).
The questionnaire included 16 multiple-choice questions on
transport plus three open questions about general characteristics of
the dogs. Where appropriate, an ‘escape’ answer (eg, ‘Do not know’ or
‘Other’) was provided for the multiple-choice questions.
The questionnaire was divided into four sections. The first col-
lected data on the dog (breed, sex and age). The second was focused
on car transport: owners were asked about the frequency with which
their dogs were transported by car, the destination, length and mode of
transport (including the means of restraint, dog’s place within the car,
provision of water, food, toys, blanket etc). The third section consisted
of questions regarding the dog’s behaviour during transport, focusing
on behaviours that could be problematic and changes in these behav-
iours. The kind of intervention provided by the owner when problems
arose was also surveyed. The fourth part investigated transport by
means other than a car, and the relative quality of the dog’s response.
Data obtained through the questionnaires were analysed to obtain
descriptive statistics. In order to find possible factors that predispose
to travel-related problems, the answers to three questions were sta-
tistically analysed by using a chi-squared test (significance accepted
at P<0.05): whether the dog had been used to being transported by
car since it was a puppy; whether the dog used the car only to go to
the veterinary clinic; and whether a device (toy, blanket, water and/or
food) was used during car transport.
Results
All of the dogs in the sample had been transported by car at least once;
95.3 per cent were still being transported and 4.7 per cent were no long-
er transported by car. Specifically, 75.4 per cent were moved by car more
than 10 times per year, 14.3 per cent one to five times, and 10.3 per
cent six to 10 times per year. Owners who said they rarely (maximum
five times per year) transported their dogs, or did not transport their
dogs any more, gave the following reasons: having a big garden/living in
the countryside (48.2 per cent), dogs displaying problems related to car
transport (14.5 per cent) and the dog was ill or elderly (12.0 per cent).
Table 1 summarises the frequency of transport to different destina-
tions and of different lengths.
TABLE 1: Frequency of destinations and length of car transportation reported by dog owners
Purpose of journey Often (%) Sometimes (%) Only for this purpose (%) Never (%)
To veterinary clinics 22.5 66.7 3.9 6.9
For walking 36.1 3 9.0 1.2 23.7
For activities (sport, hunting, training etc) 20.8 12.9 1.1 65.2
To a washing/grooming shop 6.0 25.1 1. 2 67.7
Travels up to 50 km 45.8 42.3 1.4 10. 5
Travels 50 to 150 km 12.2 47.0 1.0 3 9. 8
Travels over 150 km 8.7 33.6 0.9 56.8
TABLE 2: Means of restraint of dogs during car transport
Often (%) Sometimes (%) Never (%)
Net/grating 27. 0 7. 2 65.8
Kennel 16.3 6.1 7 7. 6
Seat belt for dogs/lead 11.0 4.9 84.1
Truck 0.6 0.0 99. 4
Box/bag/basket 0.1 0.4 99. 5
Seat belt for people 0.1 0.0 99. 9
Dog’s bed 0.1 0.0 99.9
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1978, Monzeglio 2008), restlessness (Mills and Mills 2003) or fear
(Tiefenbach 2001).
According to Benchaoui and colleagues (2007) and Osgood (1978),
motion sickness is most frequently reported in young animals, and
can be a lifelong problem or may decrease as the animal gets older. In
the present study, there were a low number of dogs with a reduction
of signs (8.7 per cent of the whole sample; 36.6 per cent of dogs a
showing negative response to car transport), maybe because all travel-
related problems, not only motion sickness, were taken into account.
As the probability of a ‘spontaneous’ solution is not high, owners
should be recommended to deal with the problem from its onset.
The statistical analysis revealed that not transporting dogs when
they were still puppies made them more likely to display problems as
adults. This confirms what is usually hypothesised and suggested by
animal behaviourists: the best prophylaxis consists of training puppies
to become used to car transport (Doring-Schätzl and Erhard 2004),
habituating them to short travels and to the noises of the engine
(Overall 2001). Breeders, veterinarians and owners should implement
the habituation of puppies to a large number of stimuli, to increase
their ability to adapt to the world and decrease the development of
negative behaviours (Neilson 2004, Shepherd 2004), including those
related to car transport. Veterinarians should be versed in basic ethol-
ogy and learning theory, in order to explain to clients how to habituate
puppies to stimuli, preventing the risk of sensitising them. Prevention
should also consist of avoiding negative associations with car trans-
port, such as transporting the dog by car only for visits to the veteri-
nary clinic. It is probable that in some cases the problem is not the car
itself, but post-traumatic fear or anticipation already being displayed
during the travel (Pierantoni and others 2010).
The use of devices (especially blankets and toys) during car trans-
port was relatively common and seemed to have a beneficial effect.
However, the data obtained in the current study did not allow the
authors to determine how devices were administered (eg, toys stuffed
with food, the kind of toys etc), making further analyses impossible.
Cannas and others (2010) found that the use of a device was more
frequent in dogs without travel-related problems, but in that survey,
devices included inanimate objects and pets, the latter probably having
a different effect (eg, higher comfort or more excitement). Therefore,
results on this point cannot be regarded as conclusive and further
research should be aimed at clarifying it.
In agreement with Cannas and others (2010) and Gandia Estellés
and Mills (2006), the present survey found that during car transpor-
tation, dogs usually show more excitable behaviours rather than
inhibited ones. This may be due to dogs anticipating within the car
what is going to happen, for example, going for a walk. Especially in
cases when the dog is hypostimulated at home, it is likely that arousal
increases excessively: dogs can be restless, bark and yelp, and these
behaviours can be annoying or even troublesome (distracting) for the
driver. In that case, the problem is not directly related to the car, but to
the management of the dog, and this should be addressed in order to
solve the problem and improve the dog’s welfare.
Among physical signs displayed by problematic dogs, hypersaliva-
tion and vomiting were quite common, the latter having a prevalence
of 39.9 per cent; this value was slightly high-
er compared with those reported by Gandia
Estellés and Mills (2006) and Cannas and
others (2010). Such signs should not be
underestimated as they represent a strong
welfare matter and they can lead to negative
associations and therefore difficulty in the
future transport of the dog.
It is remarkable that almost half of the
owners did not seek advice for the problem,
and only a small percentage (in comparison
to the amount of problematic dogs) admin-
istered substances to help the dog cope with
vomiting, hypersalivation and other problems
related to travelling. In the case of kinetosis
or transport-related stress, fear and anxiety,
the most common suggested treatments are
non-pharmacological interventions (eg, fast-
ing, not transporting the dog at all, homeopathy), pheromones (Gaultier
and Pageat 2003, Gandia Estellés and Mills 2006) and medicines, espe-
cially antihistamines (Yates and others 1998), sedatives (Hart 1985) and
antiemetics (Benchaoui and others 2007). However, some authors con-
sider behavioural therapy to be crucial in solving travel-related problems
in dogs (Leonard 1978, Döring-Schätzl and Erhard 2004).
Interviewed owners referred, or believed that they should refer to,
veterinarians to solve these sorts of problems. Veterinarians are seen as
a respected source of information on animal-related matters including
behaviour (Voith 2009). Even though aversive methods in education
and training can lead to serious negative consequences (Tortora 1983,
Roll and Unshelm 1997, Beerda and others 1998, Hiby and others
2004, Schilder and Van der Borg 2004), a small but relevant percentage
of respondents in the present study mentioned that they had referred
to or would refer to dog trainers using non-gentle methods.
Almost half of the respondents claimed not to use any means of
restraint for their dogs during car transport, similarly to what was
found in Germany by Wöhr and Erhard (2004). In Italy, there are no
principal legal stipulations concerning the transport of one dog, pro-
vided that it does not hamper driving. Despite the lack of laws, infor-
mation about how to transport dogs safely should be widespread, in
order to protect the safety and welfare of both dogs and people (Royal
Society for the Prevention of Accidents 2011). A good choice could be
a kennel (Doring-Schätzl and Erhard 2004) after proper training that
allows the dog to consider it as a safe place.
Dogs were moved also by means of transport other than cars,
among which boat transport was the most frequently used. None of
the dogs in this sample had been transported by aeroplane, maybe
because the owners had not needed it or they were scared of the pos-
sible negative consequences for the dog’s health (such as a high stress
response, death resulting from sedation, hyperthermia, environmental
stress, disease complications (Hanneman and others 1977, Tennyson
1995, Bergeron and others 2002)).
In spite of the lack of action taken by many owners to solve trans-
port-related behavioural problems in their dogs, it would be useful to
keep investigating this very common problem. Further information
may help owners in solving travel-related problems of their dogs, pre-
venting the inconvenience of not being able to transport the dog.
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... It is common for dog owners and dog handlers today to transport dogs in cars, but at the same time it is common that dogs in these situations show signs of problematic behaviour, such as restlessness, vomiting and panting (Mariti et al., 2012). During car transportation, a dog may be exposed to various potential stressors such as the confinement itself, loud noise, uncontrolled movements, unfamiliarity, inappropriate temperatures and motion sickness. ...
... This may be explained by the Police dogs having more car experience and better techniques for maintaining their balance even under more extreme driving conditions, for example when the police are responding to emergencies. Dogs accustomed to car transportation early in life have been found to be less likely to develop behavioural problems when travelling by car such as barking, trembling or restlessness (Mariti et al., 2012) supporting that experience has a large effect. It was our subjective experience that some individual dogs were better at maintaining their balance than others, implying that individual variation in body posture and technique could be important. ...
Article
Working dogs often spend a large amount of their time in cars. It has been hypothesized that a larger compartment in the car would be more comfortable for the dog, but that a smaller space could be safer, especially while driving. This presents a potential conflict. In this study, working dogs of the breeds German Shepherd (N = 8) and Springer Spaniel (N = 8) from the Swedish Police and Customs respectively, were each tested in four different car cage sizes; two cages were the minimum size allowed according to Swedish regulations (one of fixed size and one adapted to the size of the dog) and for comparison we tested one larger (fixed sized) and one smaller (adapted sized) cage. These were tested under two different driving phases; normal driving (including turns and changes in speed) and slow cruising (without turning forces and of an even speed). The study was conducted at a test track using an estate car, typical of that used by these organizations. Testing of each cage size involved 30 min in the car, excluding the habituation period. The dogs’ behaviour and heart rate activity was recorded. Statistical analyses used a mixed model and pairwise comparisons. We found a large effect of our two driving phases, for example heart rate was higher and behavioural stress indicators more frequent during normal driving, implying that this was a more demanding situation for dogs compared to the slow cruising. Regarding cage size effects, there were fewer overall movements and body position changes by dogs in the three smaller cages compared to the largest cage size. That this could be a sign of decreased comfort is supported by the finding that dogs could not turn around in these cages without curving their back upwards or lowering their rump in these cages. This could have negative physical effects, especially in German Shepherds which are predisposed to musculoskeletal disease. Furthermore, German Shepherd dogs showed more bracing postures, i.e. more attempts to maintain their balance, in the small fixed cage size. For these dogs this cage size was shorter than their own body length. However, this bracing did not result in them losing their balance any less often, illustrating the importance of space allowance for maintaining balance during transportation and implying that a smaller cage is not necessarily safer.
... In a survey among dog owners, 24% of dogs were reported to have problems when travelling by car. When dogs had become used to travelling by car as puppies, the likelihood of transport-related problems at adult age was reduced, suggesting a certain degree of habituation [22]. In two experimental studies, road transport of dogs was associated with increases in heart rate, behavioral changes and an increase in the neutrophil to leukocyte ratio [23,24]. ...
... Results of a questionnaire study among dog owners suggest that dogs used to travelling by car since puppy age were less likely to respond negatively to road transport than dogs transported as adults only. According to their owners' perception, however, 24% out of close to 1000 dogs experienced problems when transported by car [22]. This suggests that although a certain degree of adaptation occurs in most dogs over longer times, transport is still perceived as stressful or negative by a substantial percentage of dogs. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to characterize the response of transport-naïve dogs to one and two-hour road transports based on cortisol in saliva and blood plasma, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), neutrophil to lymphocyte (N/L) ratio and behavior. Two persons familiar to the dogs were present during transports and control experiments. We hypothesized that transport elicits a stress response, which decreases with repeated transports. Beagle dogs were allocated to three groups (n = 6 each). Group 1 served as control in the stable in week 1 and was transported for one hour in weeks 2, 3 and 4. Groups 2 and 3 served as controls in a non-moving vehicle and in the stable, respectively, in week 2. All three groups were transported for two hours in week 6. Cortisol concentration increased during transports (p < 0.001), and this increase remained constant with repeated transports. Cortisol release during two-hour transports was not affected by transport experience. Cortisol concentration increased twofold in plasma and eightfold in saliva, indicating an increase in free cortisol. The N/L ratio increased during transport (p < 0.05). Heart rate increased at the beginning of transport while HRV decreased (p < 0.001). Heart rate and HRV neither differed among weeks nor between animals with different transport experience. During transports, but also in the stationary vehicle, dogs were mostly sitting, and time spent standing decreased during experiments (p < 0.001). Licking the mouth was the most frequent behavior during transports but not in the stationary vehicle (p < 0.01). In conclusion, a transport-induced stress response was evident in dogs. There was no habituation with repeated transports, and transported dogs may suffer from motion sickness.
... Although fear can inhibit aggressive behavior, as the animal instead freezes or attempts to fl ee, withinahospital setting, the perceived threat often increases and the chancet oe scapei sp revented; thus, the animal may selecta na ggressiver esponse (Lindsay, 2001 Handling aggressiveanimals in aveterinary practice can be dangerousfor both veterinary surgeons and companion animals,a nd veterinarians may need to sedate the animals to perform ac omplete examination of their patients ( Döring et al., 2009). Subsequentv eterinary visits can become more diffi cult (Simpson, 1997), and dogs can develop travel-related problems due to the association with the clinic (Mariti, Ricci, et al., 2012). In addition, fear and anxietyrelated to the veterinary clinic may have as trong impact on animal health.T he guardian mayf orgo routine checkups to avoid stressing the animal, and consequently, veterinary surgeons may have diffi cultiesi ng uaranteeing the appropriate care (Palestrini, 2009 ). ...
... It suggests that some dogs can anticipate suchsituations,and therefore, there is the risk that their fear/phobia could developinto an anxiety disorder (Overall, 2013,p .6 0), with serious implications for the dogs' welfare. It also indicates that some dogsm ay be able to differentiate between car transportation to the clinic and to other destinations, which is probably responsible for the predisposition to develop travel-related problems when dogs aret ransported only to the veterinary clinic (Mariti, Ricci, et al., 2012). ...
Article
A large survey of Italian dog guardians (n = 906) was conducted to assess dog behavior and welfare at the veterinary clinic and to investigate how guardians and veterinarians affect them. This study confirmed that the veterinary clinic is a source of stress for most dogs, who showed impaired welfare in all phases: in the waiting room, entering the examination room, on the examination table, and when approached by the vet. This study also characterizes some factors related to the guardians' and veterinarians' behavior that affect the dogs' behavior and welfare during the veterinary examination. If dogs had not been examined by a vet since puppyhood, if they did not accept treatments by their guardians, and if they were scolded when refusing a treatment, the risk for having problems with dog welfare and behavior at the veterinary clinic increased. The attention paid by the vet to the dog was found to be positively related with a good response of the dog to the vet. Prevention seems to be the key for the protection of dog welfare related to veterinary care.
... Visiting the veterinary clinic is thought to represent ah ighlys tressful event for many cats. Potential sources of stress include confi nement (Graham &Brown, 1996), travelingbycar to the clinic (Mariti, Ricci, et al., 2012), exposure to an unfamiliar environment (Griffi th, Steigerwald, &Buffi ngton, 2000;Pageat &Tessier, 1997), and intense handling (Belew, Barlett, &Brown, 1999;C auvin et al., 2003). ...
... Some poor welfare states may be acceptable if they are brief or if the animal can tolerate them ( Morton, 2007 ), but prolonged and repeated stress can be highly detrimental. Poor welfare in the waiting room is particularly important to consideri ft he animal has to visit the veterinary clinic regularly,i fi tl eads to travel-related problems (Mariti, Ricci, et al., 2012), or if cats anticipate going to the vet (as reported by manyguardians) because they mightdevelop problematic levels of anxiety (Overall, 2013). ...
Article
To assess the welfare of cats at the veterinary clinic and how caregivers and veterinarians affect it, a survey of Italian cat guardians (n = 1,111) was conducted using a 28-item multichoice questionnaire. Most cats showed impaired welfare during all stages of a clinic visit: before entering, in the waiting room, moving to the examination room, on the examination table, and after returning home. A relationship was found between welfare states in each stage. Stress worsened with further experience and had negative effects on traveling and handling in other situations. Restraint, pain, and anxiety led to aggression toward vets and guardians. Guardians showed a positive attitude toward their cats' health and welfare, and the veterinarians' behavior toward the cats was a reason for changing the veterinarian. One in 10 veterinarians examined the cat immediately, without stroking, talking, or offering food. However, the use of food was effective only if cats were not already stressed. Educating guardians and veterinarians to minimize stress during every stage of a clinic visit is the best approach to improving welfare for cats visiting the clinic.
... Another issue that merits further research is that of stress during long-distance transportation. Transportation is likely associated with numerous stressors 4,18 that demonstrably cause a stress response in dogs, [19][20][21] but the journey times previously studied are much shorter than those experienced by many imported rescue dogs. ...
... A study of the transporters, who often operated independently from the larger organizations represented in our study, would provide insight into efforts made to minimize the potential negative impacts of transport on dog welfare and would draw attention to transport-related welfare concerns that merit consideration. Welfare issues associated with long-distance transfer are an area of particular concern given that transport can adversely affect dog behavior and has the potential to create new behavior problems (e.g., phobias) [20]. ...
Article
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Long-distance dog transfer programs are a topic of burgeoning interest in the animal welfare community, but little research has focused on such programs. This exploratory study, which surveyed 193 individuals associated with animal shelter and rescue organizations in the United States, evaluated factors that impacted organizations’ decisions to transfer in dogs over long distances (>100 miles) and assessed what criteria were commonly valued by destination organizations. Specifically, we examined the following aspects of long-distance transfer programs: (1) logistics of long-distance dog transfers; (2) factors impacting dog selection; (3) medical requirements; (4) partnerships formed between source and destination organizations; and (5) perceptions of long-distance dog transfer programs by individuals affiliated with the destination organizations. This study revealed that many logistical considerations factor into transfer decisions and the formation of healthy partnerships between source and destination organizations. Participants indicated their organization’s willingness to receive dogs of various sizes, coat colors and ages, but organizations often had restrictions regarding the breeds they would accept. Study findings indicate some organizations have strict quarantine policies and pre-transfer medical requirements, while others have no such requirements.
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Currently, the interest of veterinarians and owners in the pharmacological correction of situational behavioral disorders in companion animals has increased significantly. To quickly correct deviant behavior in dogs and cats, veterinarians use some of the psychotropic drugs used in humane medicine, in particular, trazodone, an antidepressant antagonist / serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Based on the analysis of literature sources, data on the history of creation and pharmacological properties, assessment of the safety and efficacy of drugs based on trazodone hydrochloride in behavioral medicine of small pets are provided. The data on the prerequisites for the development, pharmaco-toxicological and clinical evaluation of a new drug for the modification of abnormal behavior in dogs and cats, Express Uspokoin® tablets based on trazodone succinate, which, with a high efficiency of the target action, made it possible to achieve the absence of side effects and significantly increase the tolerance of the dosage form by animals, are analyzed. compared with preparations based on trazodone hydrochloride.
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International canine transport programs are gaining popularity, moving dogs from limited-resourced facilities to those with an increased capacity to provide better animal care and outcomes. For many animals, transport is a lifesaving measure, but is not without risk. The long-distance movement of dogs can facilitate disease spread, particularly when exporting agencies are located in rabies-endemic areas and lack staff trained in infectious disease control. This article explains current trends in international dog transport and potential risks and benefits for participating agencies, and provides recommendations to mitigate the risk of unintentional infectious disease introduction and transmission.
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Behavioral problems occur frequently in dogs and represent a significant threat to dog welfare. Anxiety, phobias, and fears comprise most of the canine behavioral conditions. The identification of an association between specific behavioral phenotypes and genetic variants of candidate genes would be a valuable tool in selection for dogs less susceptible to anxiety and fear, which may improve animal welfare. The DRD2 gene encodes the dopamine receptor 2. In this study, we found 8 SNPs in the DRD2 gene of the Havanese, a breed that shows large variation in a behavioral phenotype that manifests itself as a tendency to react fearfully by withdrawing in social situations. Significant associations were detected between 2 SNPs in exon 2 of the DRD2 gene and increased social fear in Havanese dogs (n = 158), as evaluated through observation by an external evaluator (respective allelic odds ratio: 4.35, 4.07) and through owner questionnaires (respective allelic odds ratio: 1.96, 2.2). Because different types of fear-related behavioral disorders commonly co-occur, the SNPs in exon 2 were also investigated for possible association to noise reactivity in 5 breeds: Havanese (n = 121), collie (n = 94), Irish soft-coated wheaten terrier (n = 44), Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever (n = 33), and standard poodle (n = 29). Significant associations were detected between SNPs in exon 2 of the DRD2 gene and noise reactivity in the Irish soft-coated wheaten terrier (respective allelic odds ratio: 2.64, 2.88) and collie (allelic odds ratio: 3.03). The same SNP alleles were associated with the beneficial phenotypes in the 3 breeds.
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Full-text available
Historically, pet dogs were trained using mainly negative reinforcement or punishment, but positive reinforcement using rewards has recently become more popular. The methods used may have different impacts on the dogs’ welfare. We distributed a questionnaire to 364 dog owners in order to examine the relative effectiveness of different training methods and their effects upon a pet dog’s behaviour. When asked how they trained their dog on seven basic tasks, 66% reported using vocal punishment, 12% used physical punishment, 60% praise (social reward), 51% food rewards and 11% play. The owner’s ratings for their dog’s obedience during eight tasks correlated positively with the number of tasks which they trained using rewards (P < 0.01), but not using punishment (P = 0.05). When asked whether their dog exhibited any of 16 common problematic behaviours, the number of problems reported by the owners correlated with the number of tasks for which their dog was trained using punishment (P < 0.001), but not using rewards (P = 0.17). Exhibition of problematic behaviours may be indicative of compromised welfare, because such behaviours can be caused by—or result in—a state of anxiety and may lead to a dog being relinquished or abandoned. Because punishment was associated with an increased incidence of problematic behaviours, we conclude that it may represent a welfare concern without concurrent benefits in obedience. We suggest that positive training methods may be more useful to the pet-owning community
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Zusammenfassung In diesem Beitrag werden konkrete Anforderungen an die tiergerechte Unterbringung von Hunden während des Reisens formuliert. Im Gegensatz zum gewerblichen Transport bewegt sich das private Reisen mit dem Hund unter Tierschutzaspekten weitestgehend im »rechtsfreien« Raum. Hinzu kommt durch die stetig steigende Zahl der gehaltenen Hunde und durch die steigende Mobilität und Reisefreude der Bevölkerung ein deutlich zunehmender Hundetourismus. Da die mit dem Transport verbundenen Änderungen der Umweltfaktoren auch für Hunde, insbesondere dem nicht an die Transportsituation gewöhnten Tier, eine große Belastung darstellen, muss darauf geachtet werden, dass den Tieren keine vermeidbaren Schmerzen, Leiden oder Schäden zugefügt werden. Besonders belastende Einflussfaktoren sind die Trennung des Tieres von vertrauten Personen, ungewohnte Reaktionen, z. B. beim abrupten Bremsen des Autos oder bei Flugturbulenzen, fremde Geräusche, eine extreme Einschränkung der Bewegungsmöglichkeiten, Klimastress wegen eingeschränkter Thermoregulation und die Ausscheidungsproblematik. So vielgestaltig die Reisemöglichkeiten geworden sind, so variationsreich sind die Unterbringungsmöglichkeiten beim Straßen- (Auto, Wohnmobil und Bus), dem Luft-, See- und Eisenbahntransport. Zusammenfassend ist festzustellen, dass die Bestimmungen der einzelnen Transportunternehmen häufig im Widerspruch zu tierschutzrechtlichen Anforderungen stehen.
Article
Dogs transported in cars may show behaviour problems like vocalisation (barking, howling), restlessness or displaying signs of distress like trembling, panting or salivation. A possible reason may be fear induced by insufficient or bad experiences with driving. Restlessness and vocalisation in the car may also occur due to multiple and rapid changes in optical and acoustical stimuli. Other reasons can be excitement of an unbalanced dog or barking in context of territorial behaviour. Often the behaviour problem is supported by the wrong reaction of the owner trying to calm the dog or scolding it. The best prophylaxis of behaviour problems is the early and gentle habituation of puppies in their »sensitive period« of ontogenesis (up to the age of three months) to driving by car. If a problem already exists, careful diagnosis and causal treatment are necessary. A stepwise training program (systematic desensitization) can get the dog used to the situation of driving. It will learn a desired alternative behaviour by earning a reward. It must be considered that every behavioural problem is an individual case that must be analyzed and treated carefully.
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Since there are no principal legal stipulations in Germany concerning the private transport of dogs it is necessary to map out concrete demands for the housing of dogs when travelling. In the past the number of dogs kept in German households and the mobility and travel fun of the Germans has increased steadily and therefore the dog tourism as well. The change of the environment could have a great impact on the welfare of dogs. It is very important not to cause avoidable pains, distress and damages due to the way of housing during transport. Stressful influencing factors caused by the transport are the separation of the dogs from familiar persons, unusual balance reactions (e. g. loading/unloading of the aeroplane), strange noises, extreme space-reduction, climatic stress due to a reduced thermoregulation and problems with urinary and faecal excretion. According to the variety of travelling (by car, aeroplane, ship or train) many different housing systems exist for the animals when travelling. Comprising the results it is to assess that the regulations of different transport organizations are very often in contrast to the demands for the animals welfare.
Article
Behavioural effects of the use of a shock collar during guard dog training of German shepherd dogs were studied. Direct reactions of 32 dogs to 107 shocks showed reactions (lowering of body posture, high pitched yelps, barks and squeals, avoidance, redirection aggression, tongue flicking) that suggest stress or fear and pain. Most of these immediate reactions lasted only a fraction of a second. The behaviour of 16 dogs that had received shocks in the recent past (S-dogs) was compared with the behaviour of 15 control dogs that had received similar training but never had received shocks (C-dogs) in order to investigate possible effects of a longer duration. Only training sessions were used in which no shocks were delivered and the behaviour of the dogs (position of body, tail and ears, and stress-, pain- and aggression-related behaviours) was recorded in a way that enabled comparison between the groups. During free walking on the training grounds S-dogs showed a lower ear posture and more stress-related behaviours than C-dogs. During obedience training and during manwork (i.e. excercises with a would-be criminal) the same differences were found. Even a comparison between the behaviour of C-dogs with that of S-dogs during free walking and obedience exercises in a park showed similar differences. Differences between the two groups of dogs existed in spite of the fact that C-dogs also were trained in a fairly harsh way. A comparison between the behaviour during free walking with that during obedience exercises and manwork, showed that during training more stress signals were shown and ear positions were lower. The conclusions, therefore are, that being trained is stressful, that receiving shocks is a painful experience to dogs, and that the S-dogs evidently have learned that the presence of their owner (or his commands) announces reception of shocks, even outside of the normal training context. This suggests that the welfare of these shocked dogs is at stake, at least in the presence of their owner.
Article
This research aimed to identify the frequency and type of undesirable behaviors observed by guide dog puppy walkers and management strategies used by them during the puppy-walking period.All members of 36 puppy-walking families (N = 96), recruited from the National School of Guide Dogs for Blind People in Florence (Italy), completed an 80-item questionnaire. This sampling represented homes caring for 28 Labrador retrievers, 6 Golden retrievers, and 2 German shepherd dogs. Of these dogs, 47.2% (n = 17) were males and 52.8% (n = 19) females, and 66.7% (n = 24) were between 7 and 12 months old.Three categories of undesirable behaviors were recorded. First, behaviors considered inconsequential to the guide dog role were: digging (11.8%, n = 11); chewing objects (4.4%, n = 4); stealing or begging for food (3.1%, n = 3); licking people (5.9%, n = 5); getting on furniture (4.4% n = 4); defending territory (2.8%, n = 2); and coprophagia (5.9%, n = 5). Second, the following behaviors considered easily resolvable through training were recorded: lack of recall (8.9%, n = 10); pulling on lead (11.8%, n = 11); jumping up (28.1%, n = 30); barking at other dogs (5.9%, n = 5); chewing the leash (1.5%, n = 1); and house soiling (5.9% (n = 5). Third, these potentially disqualifying behaviors were observed: scavenging (17.7%, n = 17); aggressive barking, growling, and biting (10.4%, n = 10); and fear of thunderstorms (6.2%, n = 6); loud noises (32.3%, n = 31); men (2.1%, n = 2); women (3.1%, n = 3); and people with unusual clothes (6.2%, n = 6). None of the puppies was reported to be fearful of children.Overall, 67.7% (n = 66) of respondents recorded at least 1 undesirable behavior. However, only few of them might lead to disqualification. The results suggest that most of the puppies were well socialized to people and not fearful.Puppy walkers could contribute to the early assessment of potential behavioral problems, which are a major cause of disqualifying guide dogs.
Article
The behavioural characteristics of specialist search dogs were examined using a survey of 244 dog handlers and trainers. The English Springer Spaniel was the most common breed, followed by the Labrador Retriever, cross breeds and the Border Collie. Individuals of these four breeds varied significantly on 5 out of 30 characteristics, as rated by their handlers, namely; tendency to be distracted when searching, agility, motivation to obtain food, independence, and stamina. English Springer Spaniels and Border Collies scored significantly closer to ideal levels than did Labrador Retrievers and cross breeds, for several of these characteristics. Overall satisfaction with the handler’s own dog(s) did not differ between the four most common breeds and was also unaffected by the dog’s sex. However, males and females did differ in their ratings for one characteristic; males were rated higher than females, which were rated closer to the ideal, for aggression towards other dogs. Overall, there appeared to be little difference between the sexes in their suitability for search work.
Article
Over one year, 206 dog owners were questioned in a veterinary clinic. The survey included two groups: 151 owners who visited the clinic because of an injury to their dog caused by another dog and 55 people who owned dogs that caused injuries to others. The questioning served to compare aggressors and victims of dog fights. The form contained 43 questions concerning the dog, the owner, and the incident of intraspecific aggression.The results reveal that both groups, victim and aggressor, showed regularities regarding the breeds, gender, and process of the fight. Important factors include housing conditions, criteria concerning the selection of a dog, and the dog's training. Significant differences were found comparing the owners of aggressors and their victims, including the owner's gender, profession, age, his/her attitude towards dogs, the selection of a specific breed, training methods, the purpose of keeping a dog, and previous experiences owning a dog.Further conclusions were drawn regarding the time and location of the incidents. Their influence on a potential solution to the problem caused by aggressive dogs is discussed.
Article
Poor housing conditions, harsh training sessions and uncontrollable or unpredictable social environments are examples of the situations that may lead to reduced welfare status in dogs. Individuals that suffer from poor welfare presumably experience stress and may consequently exhibit stress responses. In order to evaluate stress responses as potential indicators of poor welfare in dogs, we review studies dealing with dogs subjected to stressors. The reported stress responses are categorized as being behavioural, physiological or immunological, and demonstrate the various ways stress is manifested in the dog.