Student veterinarians' ability to recognise behavioural signs of stress in dogs

David J. Menor-Campos, Joanne M. Williams, Angelo Gazzano, Chiara Mariti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Veterinarians’ perceptions of animal stress influence their practice. Therefore, the aim of this research was to evaluate how veterinary students perceive stress in dogs. Two hundred and eighteen fourth year veterinary students of the University of Cordoba (Spain) participated in the study. An online questionnaire measuring veterinary students’ perceptions of behavioral indicators of stress in dogs, their attachment to pets, and demographic measures (e.g., pet ownership, student gender) was administered to participants in university classes. Data show that veterinary students easily identified some stress indicators such as stereotypical behaviors, excessive barking and aggressiveness, but they were less likely to identify yawning, low activity and paw raising as indicators of stress. Understanding the basis of stress and having a companion animal influenced stress identification but participants’ gender, and attachment level to their pets, had no effect on ability to identify canine stress indicators. Misunderstandings about canine behavior might influence veterinary students’ ability to recognize subtle stress signs in dogs. However, a good understanding of the psycho-physiological basis of stress and personal experiences of dog ownership were associated with greater ability to identify behavioral stress signs in dogs, suggesting that additional training in canine stress might be beneficial for student veterinarians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Early online date5 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • dog behavior
  • dog stress
  • stress
  • veterinary students
  • animal welfare


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