Life changed for dogs during lockdown
They are faithful companions of thousands of people. Now research shows that the lockdown experience of Britain’s favorite dog breed impacted their lifestyle and veterinary care.
Labradors generally had similar levels of disease but went to the vet less frequently during the early months of the pandemic, according to a new study.
This highlights that dogs may not have received their usual veterinary care when they were sick. It’s possible that owners had difficulties accessing veterinary services or that they considered their dog’s ailments too minor to treat under the circumstances, researchers say.
The number of Labradors vaccinated also decreased due to fewer vet visits.
Experts say the findings should prompt owners to talk to their vet and ensure any gaps in their dog’s vaccination history are addressed.
However, not all the consequences of the lockdown have been negative. Just as some people stepped up their fitness routines, Labradors enjoyed more exercise and were less likely to receive treats from their owners.
Labrador owners also reported less coughing from their dogs, including potentially contagious causes such as kennel cough – a permanent condition in dogs.
A reduction in dogs’ social interactions may have held back the spread of insects, the team says.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh collected data from more than 4,000 Labrador owners in England between March and July 2020.
The team also found that compared to previous years, Labradors were less likely to be insured, possibly related to the precarious financial situation of many owners.
Dogs in the study sample, however, were more likely to be dewormed — most likely because owners spent more time with their pets and were less likely to forget.
Researchers say the findings could inform owners and veterinarians about best practices for keeping dogs healthy during future pandemics.
Future studies should focus on helping veterinarians and owners minimize the negative effects of a pandemic on dogs, the research team says.
The study is published in the journal Veterinary Examination of BMCand was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Research was conducted as part of the Dogslife project, which is based at the university’s Roslin Institute and examines the genetic and environmental factors that keep dogs healthy.
Dogslife has been collecting information from the owners of Kennel Club registered Labradors since 2010.
“Lockdown restrictions had a significant impact on Labrador retrievers. The implications of the changes are complex and further research should show how to minimize the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on dogs,” said Charlotte Woolley, lead author. and a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Dog Ownership Concerns and Experience with Access to Veterinary Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Charlotte SC Woolley et al, The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a cohort of Labrador retrievers in England, Veterinary Examination of BMC (2022). DOI: 10.1186/s12917-022-03319-z
Quote: Life changed for dogs during lockdown (2022, June 27) retrieved on June 27, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-life-dogs-lockdown.html
This document is copyrighted. Other than fair dealing for personal study or research, nothing may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.