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JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Owner impressions of three premium diets fed to healthy adult dogs

Sherry L Sanderson, Delmar R Finco, Asa D Pogrelis, Lisa M Stacy, Carrie E Unger
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2005 December 15, 227 (12): 1931-6
16379629

OBJECTIVE: To determine owner impressions of 3 premium canine diets when factors such as price and retail source were removed; to compare body condition scores (BCSs) assigned by owners versus a veterinarian; and to determine consistency of owner impressions of diets when owners were not informed that they were feeding the same diet during 2 consecutive periods.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

ANIMALS: 44 healthy adult dogs.

PROCEDURE: During the initial 12 months of the study, dogs were each fed 3 premium diets for 4 months in random order. After feeding each diet for 1 and 4 months, owners completed questionnaires regarding palatability of the diet; the dog's attitude, energy level, fecal consistency, frequency of defecation, hair coat quality, and BCS; and whether they would feed the diet if available commercially. During the last 4 months of the study, owners fed the same diet they had been feeding during the previous 4 months.

RESULTS: Scores for most variables did not differ among diets. However, mean BCS assigned by owners was significantly lower than mean BCS assigned by an investigator, with a moderate correlation between scores. When asked at the end of the third and fourth study periods whether they would consider feeding the diet long-term, 12 of the 44 (27%) owners gave inconsistent responses.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results indicate that when unaware of retail price and source, owners have similar impressions of 3 premium diets fed to healthy adult dogs, suggesting that factors other than the diets themselves may affect owner impressions. Owners also underestimate their dog's BCS.

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