Objective: To develop a preliminary discriminative questionnaire for assessment of nonphysical aspects of the quality of life (QOL) of pet dogs and evaluate the questionnaire's content validity, test-retest reliability, and internal consistency.
Study population: Owners of 120 dogs.
Procedure: Each QOL question had 4 response options, representing descending levels of QOL that were equally weighted. A maximum of 38 items contributed to the QOL score. The questionnaire was administered by telephone to owners of dogs with appointments at a veterinary teaching hospital before the appointment. After the appointment, each dog was classified as sick or healthy by use of defined criteria; owners of healthy dogs had a second interview 3 to 4 weeks later. Test-retest reliability (kappa), internal consistency (Cronbach alpha), and respondents' comprehension were used as criteria for excluding an item.
Results: There were 77 sick and 43 healthy dogs. Twenty-two QOL questions had significant kappa values (0.11 to 0.91). The Cronbach alpha values for 5 domains of QOL ranged from 0.45 to 0.61, indicating that the domains had moderate internal consistency (homogeneity). The initial pool of 38 items was reduced to 27.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: The questionnaire was designed to complement veterinary assessment of dogs' physical health. The questionnaire may be a useful tool in making decisions regarding dogs' QOL.