PhD on Human-behaviour change and canine obesity

The aim of this project is to investigate how dog owners and key stakeholders in the pet industry conceptualise and tackle canine obesity, and use these insights to develop and test the effectiveness of dietary and exercise interventions. This project will draw on expertise in human behaviour change to tackle key welfare issues in dogs of over-feeding and insufficient exercise. In order to do this, they will explore the contributory factors to obesity in dogs, including owner attitudes and beliefs, the influence exerted on dog owners by others (including veterinary surgeons, other owners, and wider society, including media) and the responses of owners to these pressures. They will also identify what feeding and weight management strategies exist, both in the minds of owners and of other stakeholders. They will use qualitative research methods to develop new strategies to improve weight management and exercise levels in dogs through better communication and owner engagement based on human behaviour change principles. They will then design a randomised-controlled trial to pilot test the intervention on the wellbeing (including weight and physical activity levels) of the dog, and physical activity of the owner. Ultimately, they hope to better understand the causes of obesity and improve options for prevention and treatment. Expected outcomes include novel practical behaviour change strategies targeting owners and other professionals, and potential changes to policy that can be widely applied to increase canine exercise levels and reduce the prevalence of obesity.

Salary: Stipend of £16,000 per annum and fees for a UK / EU student

Closing date: 09/02/2020

Further information can be found here.