Fear-related behaviour of dogs in veterinary practice

Vet J. 2009 Oct;182(1):38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.05.006. Epub 2008 Aug 10.


To investigate further the occurrence of fear-related behaviour in dogs in veterinary practice and to evaluate associated factors, 135 dogs were observed under practice conditions within the framework of a standardised test examination and the owners interviewed using a questionnaire. Most dogs exhibited fear reactions, particularly on the examination table, with 78.5% (106/135) categorised as 'fearful' based on their behaviour. Unlike weight and castration, age, gender and previous experience were significantly (P<0.05) associated with fearful behaviour. Male dogs were significantly less 'fearful' than females and animals under <2 years were significantly less 'fearful' compared with older dogs. Those with only positive previous experiences in veterinary surgeries were significantly less 'fearful' than dogs that had a previous negative experience. Fear-related behaviour in veterinary practice is an issue of importance.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Dogs / physiology*
  • Dogs / psychology*
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterinarians / psychology*