Veterinary Record
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Assessing owners' readiness to change their behaviour to address their companion animal's obesity

Publication Date Sep 8, 2022

Abstract

Owner behaviour change in relation to management is critical for successful pet weight loss. The stages of change (SOC) can be used to conceptualise the process of intentional behaviour change. Clients may be more likely to make successful changes when practitioners use communication techniques appropriate for a client's current stage. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to assess pet owners' SOC in relation to managing the weight of their overweight or obese pet. An online questionnaire targeting dog and cat owners was distributed via snowball sampling. A total of 532 questionnaires were included in the analysis. Of these, 153 participants (28.8%) self-identified their pet's body condition score (BCS) as greater than 5 (on a nine-point scale). An adapted University of Rhode Island Change Assessment scale was completed by 119 of these participants (77.8%) to assess their readiness to change related to managing their overweight or obese pet. Most participants were scored in the precontemplation (52.1%) and contemplation (42%) stages, where readiness to change is low. Owner assessments likely resulted in underestimation of pets' BCS. The results offer preliminary insight into the SOC of owners who identify their pets as overweight or obese. Developing tools to assess and understand owners' readiness to change may be useful in informing veterinary professionals' communication approaches when engaging in weight management conversations.

Concepts

Body Condition Score Stages Of Change Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale Obese Pet Weight Management Conversations Behaviour Change In Relation Companion Animal's Obesity Communication Approaches Owner Assessments Pet's Body

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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