AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

The Welfare of Companion Animals in Nursing Homes in the Netherlands

by M. Koch

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2014
Keywords: welfare, companion animals, nursing homes, elderly, Netherlands, dogs, cats, birds
Record ID: 1262202
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/297172


The main question of this research is what the current situation is regarding the welfare of the companion animals (dogs, cats and birds) in nursing homes in the Netherlands and in which way this can be optimized. By means of a questionnaire regarding the housing, the nurture and health of the animals combined with a physical examination the welfare of the animals was determined. In this research 29 owners (9 dogs, 11 cats and 9 birds), divided over 13 nursing homes, participated. Remarkable results are that all dogs are overweight, the plurality of dogs and cats are not vaccinated and/or dewormed and the knowledge of owners about the housing and health of birds is poor. In general it appears that the welfare of the animals is not always optimal and in some cases there is room for improvement. Recommendations are that nursing homes need to be more strict when it comes to vaccinations and deworming because of the zoonotic risk and they need to take action when the animal is not properly taken care of. Owners or their relatives need better education about keeping dogs, cats or birds, because most results appear to be due to the lack of knowledge. In addition it is advisable that every nursing home has at least one employee that has extensive knowledge about the animals and pays them regular visits to monitor the wellbeing of these animals. And finally it may be possible to make arrangements with a local veterinarian to visit at least twice a year to examine the animals.