Research Study Abstract

A Pair-Matched Comparison of Objectively Measured Sedentary and Physical Activity Levels of Obese/Overweight Dogs With Normal Weight Dogs

  • Presented on 2011

Introduction Accurate measurement of canine physical activity (PA) is important in obesity treatment and prevention in veterinary medicine [1]. Methods of PA measurement often rely on owner recall and thus open to the same cognitive problems recognised in human PA measurement [1]. Accelerometry has been shown to be a valid, practical and reliable method for objectively measuring PA in dogs [2]. The aim of this study was to compare objectively measured PA levels in overweight/obese dogs with normal weight dogs.

Methods Thirty-four dogs, (including 14 pair-matched for breed, age and sex), were identified as normal, overweight or obese by Body Conditioning Score (BCS). GT3X accelerometers (Actigraph, FL) were worn dorsally on the dogs’ collars for 7 days, 24 hours/day. Measures of mean daily PA (cpm) and % time spent in different PA categories were determined using previously identified cut-points [2] and compared between BCS.

Results Mean daily PA was significantly lower in obese and overweight dogs compared with normal weight (p=0.029, 95% Confidence Interval (422, 5639)). Obese/overweight dogs spent 4.6% more time sedentary, 1.2% and 3.2% less time in light and vigorous PA respectively than normal weight dogs, although these weren’t significant.

Discussion and Conclusion Objectively assessed mean daily PA in overweight/obese dogs is lower than normal weight dogs. Pattern of PA in overweight/obese dogs showed a trend towards less time spent in light and vigorous PA. Actigraphs are tolerated well by dogs and provide detailed PA assessment. Accurate PA assessment can aid monitoring of effects of obesity treatment and the use of canines as a tool for weight reduction in humans.

References [1] Courcier EA, Thomson RM, Mellor DJ, Yam PS. An epidemiological study of environmental factors associated with canine obesity. JSAP, 2010; 51(7): 362 367. [2] Yam PS, Penpraze V, Young D, Todd M, Cloney MD, Houston-Callaghan KA, Reilly JJ. Validity, practical utility, and reliability of accelerometry for measurement of habitual physical activity in dogs. JSAP, in press.


  • Morrison, R.
  • Penpraze, V.
  • Beber, A.
  • Reilly, J. J.
  • Yam, P. S.


  • College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland

Presented at

ICAMPAM- Glasgow 2011