Disease frequency and use of therapeutic diets and dietary supplements among dog and cat owners

L. M. Freeman, S. K. Abood, C. Bauer, S. E. Crabb, Andrea J Fascetti, L. M. Fleeman, B. L E Kemp, K. E. Michel, J. R. Van Doren, K. N. Willoughby, D. P. Laflamme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The PET DINER study was a telephone survey conducted to understand why pet owners feed their pets the way they do so as to facilitate better client communications regarding this subject. This subsection of the multicenter study focused on the prevalence of health problems in dogs and cats, as well as the frequency with which pet owners use therapeutic diets and dietary supplements for their pets. A questionnaire was developed and administered to pet owners selected by a randomized process. If an owner had multiple pets, a single pet in the household was used as the subject of the survey. All calls were made from the five study sites between May and August 2004. From a total of 18,194 calls made, 1,104 people (6%) had a pet and agreed to complete the survey (dogs, n = 635; cats, n = 469). A total of 886 (80%) of the animals were considered by the owners to be healthy, 204 (19%) were generally healthy but had minor or occasional problems, and 14 (1%) were unhealthy. The most common diseases listed by the owners included musculoskeletal disease (n = 45), dental disease (n = 26), gastrointestinal or liver disease (n = 13), heart disease (n = 12), blindness or other ocular diseases (n = 11), and lower urinary tract disease (n = 11). Twenty-eight owners (2.5%) fed their pets a therapeutic diet. Dietary supplements were being administered to 72 (6.5%) animals on a regular basis and to 37 (3.4%) animals occasionally. Supplement use was more common in dogs than in cats (P < .001). The most commonly used supplements were multivitamins (n = 54), chondroprotectives (n = 24), and fatty acids (n = 13). Use of therapeutic diets (P < .001) and dietary supplements (P = .005) was more common in animals with health problems but was not limited to this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56
Number of pages1
JournalCompendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • veterinary(all)


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