Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Misbehaving Dogs Die Young

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New research published in Animal Welfare reveals that dogs with undesirable behaviours, such as aggression, running away, fighting, over-excitability or barking, are more likely to die at a younger age. Undesirable behaviours may reflect poor training by owners or even undiagnosed medical conditions, for example dogs that urinate indoors may be suffering from unidentified bladder infections.

The new study, which was conducted by the VetCompass™ Programme at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) found that 33% of deaths in dogs aged under 3 years (roughly 21,000 dog deaths in the UK) are caused by undesirable behaviours. It was also found that male dogs and smaller dogs were more likely to die from undesirable behaviours than female or larger dogs and that certain breeds were hugely predisposed. It is hoped that this research can raise awareness of the most common undesirable behaviours in dogs and encourage owners to improve the health and welfare of their animals through better choices when getting a puppy and improved training afterwards.

The RVC conducted this study using its world leading analytics programme, VetCompass™, to explore the de-identified data of a quarter of a million dogs in the UK. From this data, the researchers identified 1,574 dogs that had died...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.