The validity and repeatability of a telephone questionnaire on demographics, diet,
living patterns, exercise and health status in a well-defined dog population was assessed.
Randomly selected dogs aged 1-3 years in the largest animal-insurance database of
Sweden were included in the study. The repeatability was measured by doing two identical
interviews with 64 dog owners on average 39 (S.D. 17) days apart. The overall response
percentage was 66% (64/97). The repeatabilities for demographic data were excellent
(r(sp) 0.82-1.00), and dietary intake and feeding patterns correlated well between
interviews (r(sp) 0.66-0.99, kappa 0.57-0.95). However, correlations for the frequency
and daily intake of specific table foods had a wide range (r(sp) 0.06-0.97). The energy
and specific nutrient intakes had high repeatabilities (r(sp) 0.72-0.79). Dog owners
were quite consistent in reporting living patterns, exercise and dog-training activities
(r(sp) 0.65-0.94, kappa 0.43-0.88), except for number of walks per day (r(sp) 0.50).
The repeatabilities also were excellent for the evaluation of health status (r(sp)
0.78-0.99, kappa 0.81-1.00). The questionnaire also was compared to a 7-day weighed
record of total food intake and registration of exercise to give data on the validity.
The questionnaire was given 62 (S.D. 19) days before the weighed registrations, and
the overall response percentage was 76% (58/76). Correlations for the frequency and
amount of commercial feeds given were high (0.81-0.92), although correlations for
specific table foods had a wider range (0.03-0.81). Correlations for total energy,
protein, fat and carbohydrate intakes were between 0.80 and 0.85 in the total diet,
and 0.79-0.85 in the commercial part of the diet. The correlations for frequency and
amount of exercise ranged between 0.50 and 0.77. Corresponding correlations for training
activities (such as hunting, tracking, and obedience) were 0.51-0.68.