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Canine obesity in Portugal: perceptions on occurrence and treatment determinants


Pet obesity is a leading health threat worldwide; its real numbers remain unclear in Portugal; still, the perception exits that obesity is common in routine practice, often ignored by dog owners.


We performed a survey for practising veterinarians in Portugal mainland to establish some dog obesity-related parameters.


The “on-line” simplified questionnaire focused on the obesity prevalence and characterization of obese dogs, owner recognition and compliance to weight-loss plans, and contributing factors to the success of overweight control. Twenty-seven complete surveys were considered, covering veterinary hospitals (9) and practices (18), representing ≈32.500 dogs/year, in a male/female proportion close to 1.


Obesity prevalence was 40% (5-80%). For obese dogs, owners seldom requested counselling (13%) or weight control measures (12%). When a diet plan was proposed (74%) only 12% of the dogs were engaged. The 6 most frequently referred breeds were Labrador, Mongrels, Poodle, English Cocker, Golden Retriever and French Bulldog. Obesity was more frequent in females than males, and in spayed dogs. Severe obesity was less frequent than overweight or moderate obesity. Owners of severely obese dogs were often elderly, but middle-aged in moderately obese dogs. Owner gender was unimportant for the obesity degree and the compliance with treatment, though motivation to a weight-loss plan was higher in younger ones. The study showed that weight-loss programs had low success in moderate (46%) and severe (36%) obesity, which might resulted from economic and social/cultural issues or the owner lifestyle.


This survey gave important cues for factors affecting the success of obesity treatments in Portuguese dogs.

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Correspondence to Rita Payan-Carreira.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Payan-Carreira, R., Sargo, T. & Nascimento, M.M. Canine obesity in Portugal: perceptions on occurrence and treatment determinants. Acta Vet Scand 57, P8 (2015).

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  • Obesity
  • Obesity Prevalence
  • Obesity Treatment
  • Diet Plan
  • Golden Retriever