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Mars Petcare Researchers Develop New Quality of Life Assessment

Aim is to evaluate the wellbeing of dogs.




(PRESS RELEASE) LEICESTER, ENGLAND — Researchers from Mars Petcare, including Waltham Petcare Science Institute and Banfield Pet Hospital, developed a quality of life (QoL) assessment that evaluates dog health and wellbeing. The assessment is based on a 32-item questionnaire for pet owners to report on their dog’s behaviours and activity. When processed, survey results provide a multi-faceted view of a dog’s health and wellbeing, covering domains such as energy levels, happiness, mobility, sociability, and appetite. A new study published in Scientific Reports supports the validity of this QoL assessment for measuring and quantifying canine health and wellbeing.

“Wellbeing is a focal point for dog owners and veterinary professionals alike,” said Nefertiti Greene, president, Science & Diagnostics, Mars Petcare. “This assessment will allow us to consistently capture dog health and wellbeing data which has been proven to provide scientifically validated insights into pets’ health, ultimately advancing our Purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.”

In the paper, the assessment’s validity was studied by contrasting the owner survey results to Banfield medical records of the dogs studied. For example, energy and mobility scores were reduced in dogs with osteoarthritis; sociability and happiness domain scores were reduced with the advancing life stage of the dog and the presence of chronic diseases; and appetite scores were reduced in dogs with chronic dental disease. Results from the study also suggest this assessment can identify general malaise that could otherwise have been undetected when a dog is suffering from underlying pain that may not be easily identifiable.

“From a veterinarian’s perspective, the QoL 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.”

Pending further validation, this QoL assessment can be used as the basis for digital tools to help dog owners and veterinary teams better track dog wellbeing throughout all stages of a dog’s life.

For more information on the assessment and the study visit here.

About the QoL assessment and study

The QoL questionnaire quantifies dog health and wellbeing across five daytime domains and three mealtime domains. The daytime domains are classified as energetic (the dog’s level of activity); mobile (underlying mechanistic ability); relaxed (general calmness and absence of fear and worry); happy (absence of a sad and depressed demeanor); and sociable (affectionate and loving behavior towards owners and other pets). The mealtime domains are classified as relaxed (calm behavior around the meal as evidenced by the absence of stress); interested (interest and excitement for the meal); and satisfied (extent to which the dog is full or satisfied after the meal).

The objective of the study was to develop a comprehensive canine quality of life assessment which can serve a wide range of applications and is amenable to large-scale data collection.

Data from 2813 dogs were used to develop the QoL assessment, which makes it the biggest study of its kind to date and ensures that the assessment is suitable for use in the general population of dogs.

About Mars Petcare

At Mars Petcare we have one purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. Through comprehensive veterinary care, nutrition, breakthrough programs in diagnostics, wearable health monitoring, DNA testing and pet welfare we help pets in more than 130 countries. For decades we’ve supported research into the incredible science of human animal interaction at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute where scientists discover important advances in pet health and wellness. Mars Petcare is part of Mars, Incorporated, a global, family-owned business with a focus on becoming Sustainable in a Generation. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Waltham Petcare Science Institute

Waltham is the science centre for Mars Petcare. Our research teams work across multiple disciplines such as nutrient requirements for pets, the dog and cat microbiome, biomarkers of health and disease, and feeding behaviour. We also support research in partnership with organisations around the world to understand how our relationship with pets can help both pets and their owners to live healthy, happy lives together. The knowledge generated at Waltham is vital in bringing to life the Mars Petcare purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. We take pride in sharing our key findings with the scientific community, enabling pets around the world to benefit from our work. Since our first scientific paper over 50 years ago, we have shared our expertise through over 1700 publications, including more than 600 peer-reviewed journal articles. In addition, our researchers collaborate with some of the world’s most renowned veterinary and nutrition scientists. Find out more at

About Banfield Pet Hospital

Banfield Pet Hospital was founded in Portland, Ore. in 1955 and today is a pioneer in preventive veterinary care with more than 1,000 general veterinary hospitals in 42 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Mexico. More than 3,600 Banfield veterinarians are committed to providing high-quality veterinary care to over three million pets annually. Banfield collects data from each of these visits in the U.S.’s largest electronic veterinary health records system. Our goal is to be here for pets, people, and society. As part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices, Banfield is committed to its purpose—A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS—because pets make a better world for us. Press seeking additional information are invited to call the Media Hotline: (888) 355-0595.

About Mars Veterinary Health

Mars Veterinary Health is a global division within Mars Petcare – more than 70,000 Associates strong – dedicated to delivering high-quality pet healthcare to further its collective Purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. Mars Veterinary Health’s network operates more than 2,500 veterinary clinics and diagnostic labs around the world, putting pets, people, and the planet first. The Mars Veterinary Health network includes Associates at AniCura, Antech, Asia Veterinary Diagnostics, Banfield, BluePearl, Linnaeus, Mount Pleasant, VCA, VES, and VSH that demonstrate compassion and expertise by enabling more than 25 million pet visits each year.

Learn more at Press seeking additional information are invited to contact



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