A woman and a dog on the grass doing a playful pose

Welfare and Behaviour

How data can help us measure dogs’ health and wellbeing

Researchers and veterinary teams at Waltham Petcare Science Institute and Banfield Pet Hospital® have developed and validated an assessment that evaluates dogs’ quality of life. 

Based on a 32-item questionnaire, the assessment offers a comprehensive picture of a dog’s health and wellbeing, looking at factors such as:  

  • Energy levels 
  • Happiness 
  • Mobility 
  • Sociability
  • Appetite  

This assessment is suitable for use in the general population of dogs and may enable digital tools that veterinary teams and owners could use to track a dog’s wellbeing at any stage of the pet’s life.  

A new way to track dogs’ quality of life 

In the largest study of its kind, the assessment was validated by contrasting owner survey results to Banfield Pet Hospital medical records of 2813 dogs. This is what researchers found:  

  • Mobility and energy scores were lower in dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis 
  • Sociability and happiness levels decreased as dogs got older and developed chronic illness 
  • Appetite scores were lower in dogs with dental disease 

This study suggests this assessment can identify general malaise that could go undetected when a dog is suffering from underlying pain that may be difficult to spot. 

“From a veterinarian's perspective, the quality-of-life assessment will deliver valuable information on how veterinary care can help improve pet outcomes,” said Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO, Chief Medical Officer, Mars Veterinary Health. “Based on these insights, we have the potential to understand which treatments and interventions positively impact pet health and wellbeing and improve communication with pet owners about the health of their pet, ultimately advancing our Purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.”