Comparison of strength of the human-animal bond between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners of pet dogs and cats

Regina Schoenfeld-Tacher Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Lori R. Kogan Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Mary L. Wright Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Abstract

Objective—To assess differences in strength of the human-animal bond between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners and determine whether these variations were associated with differences in medical care for pets.

Design—Survey.

Sample Population—419 pet owners presenting a dog or cat for veterinary services at private veterinary clinics in Aurora, Colo; Chula Vista, Calif; and Mexico City.

Procedures—Owner and pet demographic information was obtained via open-ended interview questions. The human-animal bond was assessed through the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Pet health data were obtained from medical records for the specific visit observed, and a body condition score was assigned.

Results—Hispanics were more likely to own sexually intact dogs and cats as pets than were individuals of other race-ethnicity groups. Overall, owners were most likely to classify their pets as providing companionship. When data for the 2 US locations were examined separately, no significant difference existed between how non-Hispanic White and Hispanic owners viewed their pets, and scores for the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale did not differ significantly among race-ethnicity groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was a strong human-animal bond among Hispanic respondents, and Hispanic pet owners in the United States and Mexico verbalized this attachment in similar ways to non-Hispanic White owners. There was no observed association between owner race-ethnicity and strength of the human-animal bond for Hispanic and non-Hispanic White pet owners in the United States. Thus, other factors must be considered to explain the observed difference in percentages of neutered animals between groups.

Abstract

Objective—To assess differences in strength of the human-animal bond between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners and determine whether these variations were associated with differences in medical care for pets.

Design—Survey.

Sample Population—419 pet owners presenting a dog or cat for veterinary services at private veterinary clinics in Aurora, Colo; Chula Vista, Calif; and Mexico City.

Procedures—Owner and pet demographic information was obtained via open-ended interview questions. The human-animal bond was assessed through the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Pet health data were obtained from medical records for the specific visit observed, and a body condition score was assigned.

Results—Hispanics were more likely to own sexually intact dogs and cats as pets than were individuals of other race-ethnicity groups. Overall, owners were most likely to classify their pets as providing companionship. When data for the 2 US locations were examined separately, no significant difference existed between how non-Hispanic White and Hispanic owners viewed their pets, and scores for the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale did not differ significantly among race-ethnicity groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was a strong human-animal bond among Hispanic respondents, and Hispanic pet owners in the United States and Mexico verbalized this attachment in similar ways to non-Hispanic White owners. There was no observed association between owner race-ethnicity and strength of the human-animal bond for Hispanic and non-Hispanic White pet owners in the United States. Thus, other factors must be considered to explain the observed difference in percentages of neutered animals between groups.

To meet the needs of their clients and patients, veterinarians must be able to communicate effectively, understand the relationships their clients have with their pets, and appreciate how their clients' cultural beliefs and values impact that relationship. Because the Hispanic population is the most rapidly growing minority group in the United States and abroad,1 it is critical for veterinarians to understand how Hispanic clients regard and care for their pets. As an example, although most owners of dogs and cats in the United States who bring their animals to private veterinary practices for treatment have those animals spayed or castrated,2 while working at a clinic in rural Mexico offering free spay-neuter services for dogs and cats, we found that male and female Hispanic owners often displayed signs of discomfort when asked if they would neuter their male dog or cat. Many of these individuals were hesitant to neuter their animals, saying it was unfair and not something they would like to have done to themselves. On further questioning, the owners revealed deeply ingrained feelings of machismo (defined as a strong or exaggerated sense of masculinity and stressing attributes such as physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness3) and misconceptions about sexual orientation of their animals, such as questioning whether male dogs would engage in homosexual behavior after being neutered. Similar observations were reported by Poss and Bader,4 who noted that Hispanic individuals were reluctant to take male dogs to a free spay-neuter clinic because they did not know male dogs could be surgically neutered or had reservations about neutering male animals. Familiarity with beliefs such as these may allow veterinarians to adjust their client communication strategies accordingly, giving veterinarians an opportunity to present pertinent information in an appropriate manner, instead of naively attempting to change clients' cultural mores and behavior. Furthermore, understanding cultural manifestations of behavior towards pets could potentially help veterinarians anticipate common health problems among pets in Hispanic households.

The concept of pet ownership and attachment and the existence of the human-animal bond are well documented5–7 and accepted in the United States. Much research8–12 has been conducted on specific factors (eg, personality type and sex role orientation) affecting people's attitudes towards animals and their attachment to pets. These demographic studies have grouped people by age, gender, marital status, and type of pet owned, but most have failed to take into account race or ethnicity. Two recent surveys of public opinion conducted in the United States13,14 examined owners' perceptions of their pets. The Pew survey13 of 3,014 respondents found that overall, 85% of dog owners and 78% of cat owners consider their pets to be part of the family. The same survey indicated that 64% of Whites, 36% of Hispanics, and 30% of African-Americans owned a pet, but did not establish a link between owner race or ethnicity and perceived role of the pet in the household. Three years later, a poll14 of 1,110 pet owners revealed that 50% of pet owners considered their pets to be as much a part of the family as any other person in the household, whereas 36% claimed that their pets were part of the family but to a lesser extent than other humans, indicating that a total of 86% of pet owners considered their pets to be part of the family. A 2007 study15 of the perceived role of pets in the household found that 53.5% of all US households with dogs considered their dog to be a family member, 45.1% considered their dog to be a companion or pet, and 1.3% viewed their dog as property. Results were similar for White and Hispanic dog owners. Results for cat owners of all races were slightly different. Overall, 49.2% of the respondents considered their cat to be a family member, 49.4% considered their cat to be a companion or pet, and 1.4% viewed their cat as property. In that study, 52.2% of Hispanic respondents indicated their cat was a family member, whereas only 49.0% of White respondents did. White respondents were more likely to view their cats as companions or pets (49.6%) than were Hispanic respondents (46.4%). Carlisle-Frank and Frank16 examined how the manner in which caregivers define their relationship with their pet (ie, owner, guardian, or owner-guardian) impacts how they behave towards the animal. They found that people who identified themselves as their pet's guardian or owner-guardian were significantly more likely to have the animal spayed or neutered than were individuals who identified themselves as their pet's owner. Furthermore, people who identified themselves as guardians or owner-guardians were found to have a higher degree of attachment to their pets. Thus, it can be inferred that a pet's neuter status is related to the degree of owner attachment.

Despite a growing body of research on the human-animal bond, only a handful of studies have been conducted on the effects of race or ethnicity on pet attachment.17 One of the few studies18 exploring the effects of race on pet attachment investigated variations in pet attachment among White and African-American veterinary students. Unfortunately, the study did not include Hispanics and Asians, 2 of the most rapidly growing minority groups in the United States, and we are not aware of any multisite studies directly comparing pet attachment variables between Hispanic and non-Hispanic pet owners.

In a single-site study, Faver and Cavazos19 surveyed 208 college students in Texas and found that 69.2% of respondents, most of whom were second-generation Latino students, owned pets, and that 92% of the 144 pet-owning students considered their pets to be members of the family. Overall, 14.6% of respondents owned only cats, 65.3% owned only dogs, and 12.5% owned both dogs and cats, and the remainder owned other types of pets. They speculated that the greater prevalence of cats as household pets, compared with other studies of Hispanic households, could be attributed to acculturation.

In a telephone survey20 of 587 adults in the United States, there were no significant differences in the rates at which owners of various racial and ethnic backgrounds (Hispanic, White, Native American, African-American, and Asian and Pacific Islander) identified pets as family members. There was also no significant association between race and ethnic background and frequency with which owners reported receiving emotional support, unconditional love, or companionship from their pet. This study did, however, identify differences in cat ownership based on ethnicity, in that Hispanic pet owners were less likely than non-Hispanic pet owners to have cats (12.2% vs 18.2%, respectively).

Previous studies also support our observation that Hispanic owners are less likely to have their pets, especially their male pets, neutered than are non-Hispanic owners. In 1 study,20 pet owners of Hispanic ancestry were 3.41 times as likely to have a sexually intact pet as were owners of non-Hispanic ancestry. Similarly, a report21 of results of a mobile spay-neuter clinic held in a city on the border between the United States and Mexico indicated that 61% (587) of the dogs and 66% (99) of the cats presented for surgery were female. In a follow-up study22 of residents of the same community, most respondents agreed that it was a good idea to neuter male and female dogs and cats, but only 11% of the dogs and 27% of the cats owned by respondents had been neutered. In a study23 of households in urban and rural areas of Mexico, 64.5% of respondents did not want to have their pets neutered, with the main reasons given for not neutering pets being fear of inflicting pain and suffering and the belief that it is not necessary to neuter male dogs because only females are responsible for overpopulation. A study24 of pets in Australia and the United States, however, found that 462 of 543 (85%) male pets and 507 of 561 (90%) female pets were neutered, and a US study25 found that 77.3% of cats and 59.9% of dogs kept as household pets were neutered. Another study26 did not find any difference in the rates at which male and female cats were neutered and found that household income was the strongest predictor of whether cats kept as pets would be neutered. However, the study did not examine the effect of owner ethnicity on neuter status.

For the present study, we hypothesized that cultural variations in how pet dogs and cats were viewed would be associated with significant differences in strength of the human-animal bond between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners, and that these differences would be associated with differences in medical care for pets owned by Hispanics versus non-Hispanics.

Materials and Methods

Locations and participants—Interviews were conducted with 478 clients presenting a dog or cat for veterinary services at private veterinary clinics in Aurora, Colo; Chula Vista, Calif; or Mexico City. All 3 clinics were part of an international chain of privately owned veterinary clinics. The Colorado site was located in a metropolitan area with a population of approximately 550,000, of which approximately 35% were Hispanic. The California site was located in a midsize town with a population of approximately 210,000, of which approximately 56% were Hispanic, many of whom had recently immigrated to the United States. The Mexico City site was located in the capital of Mexico, which had a population of approximately 8,600,000, nearly all of whom were Hispanic. All data pertaining to human participants was gathered under the auspices of Colorado State University's Human Subjects Committee Institutional Review Board.

Procedures—Individuals who agreed to participate in the study were asked to respond to open-ended interview questions designed to gather general information about the pet's environmental and health history (eg, reasons for previous veterinary visits, specific preventive medicine practices such as vaccination, and grooming practices at home) and the reason for the current veterinary visit. In addition, participants were asked to describe the role of the pet in their household, provide basic demographic information for classification purposes, and complete the LAPS, a 23-question instrument designed to assess emotional attachment of individuals to pet dogs and cats.6 Information on race and ethnicity was obtained by asking individuals to choose the one best answer for their race-ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Black, or other). For data analysis purposes, the last 4 categories were combined into “other non-Hispanic” and analyzed as a group. Participants were also asked to indicate their highest level of education completed. Thematic analysis27 was used to code responses to the open-ended question regarding the role of the pet in the household into 1 of 9 categories: protection, companion, pet, baby or child, family, friend, working dog, ruler or master, or comfort or entertainment. Examples of LAPS questions include “My pet and I have a very close relationship” and “I feel that my pet is a part of my family.”

Because BCS could be considered both a representation of nutritional status over time and a potential indicator of the strength of the human-animal bond (with lower scores indicating a weaker bond), a BCS ranging from 1 to 9 (1 = severely emaciated, 5 = ideal, 9 = grossly obese) was assigned by the interviewer, as described.28,29 In addition, each animal was photographed, and photographs were reviewed by a single individual (MLW) to verify assigned BCSs. Finally, medical records for the veterinary clinic visit were obtained and reviewed, and the type of visit (eg, preventive care, follow-up examination, or surgery) was identified.

All interviews were performed by a single individual (RS-T), a native Spanish speaker, in the clients' preferred language (English or Spanish). Interview questions and questions on the LAPS were translated by the interviewer into Spanish, and the translation was independently verified by another native Spanish speaker.

Statistical analysis—Descriptive statistics (mean or percentages) were calculated. For categorical data, the χ2 test was used to test for association. When necessary, categories were condensed as needed to ensure that < 20% of cells had expected counts < 5. For continuous data, the Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare values between groups because the data were not normally distributed. A Pearson correlation was used to examine the relationship between LAPS score and highest level of education completed by the owners.

Results

Complete data were obtained for 419 of the 478 interviews conducted, including 106 interviews conducted at the Mexico City site, 159 conducted at the California site, and 154 conducted at the Colorado site. For all 3 sites, most of the participants were female (Table 1). Owners were classified as Hispanics (184/419 [43.9%]), non-Hispanic Whites (171/419 [40.8%]), and non-Hispanic individuals of other races (64/419 [15.3%]). For all 3 sites combined, most of the pets were dogs (373/419 [89.0%]; Table 2). Median age of all pets was 4.14 years (range, 0.085 years [1 month] to 21 years). Pets owned by non-Hispanic Whites were significantly (Kruskal-Wallis test, P < 0.001) older (median, 4.9 years; range, 2 months to 21 years) than those owned by Hispanics (median, 3.9 years; range, 1 month to 17.7 years) and non-Hispanics of other races (median, 2.8 years; range, 2 months to 16.1 years). However, there was no significant difference in median pet age on the basis of location.

Table 1—

Demographic characteristics of pet owners (n = 419) enrolled in a study comparing strength of the human-animal bond and differences in medical care provided to pets between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners.

VariableStudy site
Mexico CityCaliforniaColoradoTotal
Owner gender
   Male30 (28.3)49 (30.8)44 (28.6)123 (29.4)
   Female76 (71.7)110 (69.2)110 (71.4)296 (70.6)
Race and ethnicity
   Non-Hispanic
   White0 (0.0)62 (39)109 (70.8)171 (40.8)
   Hispanic106 (100.0)60 (37.7)18 (11.7)184 (43.9)
   Non-Hispanic of other race0 (0.0)37 (23.3)27 (17.5)64 (15.3)
Education level
   High school or less13 (12.3)19 (11.9)37 (24.0)69 (16.5)
   Some college15 (14.1)65 (40.9)54 (35.1)134 (32)
   College graduate46 (43.4)51 (32.1)41 (25.8)138 (32.9)
   Advanced degree32 (30.2)24 (15.1)22 (14.3)78 (18.6)

Values are given as number of respondents (%).

Table 2—

Reproductive status of dogs and cats owned by individuals in Table 1.

Reproductive statusStudy siteTotal
Mexico CityCaliforniaColorado
DogsCatsDogsCatsDogsCats
Sexually intact female24 (5.7)1 (0.2)20 (4.8)1 (0.2)19 (4.5)3 (0.7)68 (16.2)
Spayed female24 (5.7)6 (1.4)49 (11.7)8 (1.9)37 (8.8)6 (1.4)130 (31.0)
Sexually intact male41 (9.8)1 (0.2)36 (8.6)1 (0.2)30 (7.1)2 (0.5)111 (26.5)
Castrated male9 (2.1)0 (0.0)37 (8.8)7 (1.7)47 (11.2)10 (2.4)110 (26.3)
Total98 (92.4)8 (7.6)142 (89.3)17 (10.7)133 (86.4)21 (13.6)419 (100.0)

When data for all 3 locations were combined, the proportion of Hispanic owners with sexually intact pets was significantly (P < 0.001) higher than proportions of owners in the other groups with sexually intact pets. Overall, 26.5% (111/419) of the pets were sexually intact males, whereas 37.5% (69/184) of the pets owned by Hispanics were sexually intact males (Table 3). Likewise, sexually intact females comprised 16.2% (68/419) of the overall population, but accounted for 20.1% (37/184) of the pets owned by Hispanics. Results were similar when data for only the 2 US locations were analyzed, with sexually intact male and female pets overrepresented in Hispanic households within the United States.

Table 3—

Cross-classification of pet reproductive status by owner race and ethnicity for dogs and cats owned by individuals in Table 1.

Pet reproductive statusNon-Hispanic WhiteHispanicNon-Hispanic (other races)Total
Sexually intact female21 (12.3)37 (20.1)10 (15.6)68 (16.2)
Spayed female60 (35.1)50 (27.2)20 (31.3)130 (31.0)
Sexually intact male27 (15.8)69 (37.5)15 (23.4)111 (26.5)
Castrated male63 (36.8)28 (15.2)19 (29.7)110 (26.3)
Total171 (100.0)184 (100.0)64 (100.0)419 (100.0)

Hispanics were significantly (P = 0.002) less likely than non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanics of other races to own cats. Cats accounted for 11.0% (46/419) of all pets examined, yet represented only 6.0% (11/184) of pets owned by Hispanics, compared with 17.5% (30/171) of pets owned by non-Hispanic Whites and 7.8% (5/64) of pets owned by non-Hispanics of other races. In contrast, dogs accounted for 89.0% (373/419) of all pets and represented 94.0% (173/194) of pets owned by Hispanics, 82.5% (141/171) of pets owned by non-Hispanic Whites, and 92.2% (59/64) of pets owned by non-Hispanics of other races. Results were similar when data for only the 2 US locations were analyzed.

Median BCS did not differ significantly among the 3 race-ethnicity groups (non-Hispanic White, 6 [range, 2 to 9]; Hispanic, 5 [range, 2 to 9]; non-Hispanics of other races, 5 [range, 3 to 8]). However, median BCSs were significantly different among the 3 sites (Colorado site, 6 [range, 2 to 9]; California site, 5 [range, 3 to 8]; Mexico City site, 5 [range, 3 to 9]).

A total of 411 valid and meaningful responses were obtained when owners were asked to describe the role their pet played in the household. For purposes of analysis, responses were condensed into 4 categories (working [ie, animals kept because they provided a service to the owner], companionship [ie, animals kept mainly for companionship], pet [used when the owner indicated the animal did not play any role beyond “just a pet”], and family [ie, pet was perceived to be a member of the family]). When data from the 3 locations were combined, companionship was the most frequently given reason for owning a pet (48% [201/419]) among all participants (Table 4). Significant differences (P = 0.001) were found for different race-ethnicity groups. Inspection of the data indicated that Hispanic participants were more likely to classify their pets as family (47% [83/178]) than non-Hispanic White owners (28% [45/160] or non-Hispanic individuals of other races (33% [21/64]). When the data for the 2 US locations were analyzed, there was no significant (P = 0.205) difference in how Hispanic and non-Hispanic White owners viewed their pets. Owners in Mexico City were more likely to classify their pets as family (53% [55/103]) than were owners from the US sites (31% [94/299]).

Table 4—

Cross-classification of role played by the pet in the household by owner race and ethnicity for dogs and cats owned by individuals in Table 1.

Pet roleNon-Hispanic WhiteHispanicNon-Hispanic (other races)Total
Working22 (13.3)9 (5)5 (7.8)36 (8.8)
Companionship90 (54.2)81 (44.8)30 (46.9)201 (48.9)
Pet9 (5.4)7 (3.9)8 (12.5)24 (5.8)
Family45 (27.1)84 (46.4)21 (32.8)150 (36.5)
Total166 (100.0)181 (100.0)64 (100.0)411 (100.0)

Information on reason for the veterinary visit was available for 419 animals. For all 3 sites, the most commonly reported reason was preventive care (Table 5). Reason for the veterinary visit differed significantly (P = 0.003) among race-ethnicity groups, with Hispanic owners indicating preventive care with a greater than expected frequency, non-Hispanic White owners indicating illness and injury or emergency with greater than expected frequency, and non-Hispanic individuals of other races indicating surgery with a greater than expected frequency.

Table 5—

Cross-classification of reason for the current veterinary visit by owner race and ethnicity for dogs and cats owned by individuals in Table 1.

Reason for visitNon-Hispanic WhiteHispanicNon-Hispanic (other races)Total
Illness34 (19.8)13 (7.2)9 (13.4)56 (13.4)
Injury or emergency9 (5.2)2 (1.1)3 (4.5)14 (3.3)
Preventive care101 (58.7)122 (67.8)38 (56.7)261 (62.3)
Surgery12 (7.0)9 (5.0)6 (9.0)27 (6.4)
Follow-up examination16 (9.3)34 (18.9)11 (16.4)61 (14.6)
Total172 (100.0)180 (100.0)67 (100.0)419 (100.0)

Scores for the LAPS did not differ significantly among study sites or race-ethnicity groups. There was a positive correlation between highest level of education completed by the owner and LAPS score.

Discussion

Results of the present study indicated that Hispanics were more likely to own sexually intact dogs and cats as pets than were individuals of other race-ethnicity groups. However, for US owners, there was no significant difference in how Hispanic and non-Hispanic White owners viewed their pets (ie, working vs companionship vs pet vs family), and scores for the LAPS did not differ significantly among race-ethnicity groups. Thus, differences in percentages of neutered animals between Hispanic and non-Hispanic owners could not be attributed to differences in how pets were viewed or strength of the human-animal bond.

The fact that the proportion of Hispanic owners with sexually intact pets in the present study was significantly higher than proportions of owners in the other groups was consistent with results of previous studies4,20–22 and underscores the need for more effective messaging specifically tailored to Hispanics to encourage them to have their pets neutered. Given the high proportion of Hispanic owners who regarded their pets as family (46.4%), we hypothesize that a campaign focusing on the health benefits of neutering would have a greater impact on Hispanic owners than would a campaign focusing on societal benefits related to reducing the number of unwanted pets. Although Hispanics appreciate their social responsibilities, most place their priorities on their family.30 Because taking care of one's family is seen as a primary responsibility and a plurality of Hispanics view their pets as family, appealing to a sense of responsibility pertaining to the pet might have a greater impact with Hispanic owners than appealing to a sense of societal responsibility. Importantly, our data did not establish a distinct causal association between owner race or ethnicity and pet reproductive status because other demographic factors, such as owner income and age,26 have an impact on the likelihood that pets will be neutered. Given concerns reported in a previous study,23 any campaign encouraging Hispanic owners to have their pets neutered should also emphasize the humane nature of the procedure (eg, use of appropriate anesthesia and analgesia) and the appropriateness of the procedure for animals of either sex.

In the present study, Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanics to own cats, which was consistent with results of a previous telephone survey.20 Because previous studies19,20 have found that Hispanic owners are more likely than non-Hispanic owners to report that their pets give them a sense of personal safety, we hypothesize that the lower prevalence of cats as household pets could be related to the fact that cats, unlike some dogs, are not viewed as guardians. Finally, it is important to note that the present study only focused on animals being presented for veterinary care, and cats (at least in the United States) are less likely to receive veterinary care than dogs.15 Thus, it is possible that participants in the present study had cats in the household but did not regard them as needing medical attention. For Hispanic owners seeking preventive veterinary care for their dogs, these visits represent a valuable opportunity for veterinarians to inquire about other pets in the household and explain why it is important for animals of all species to receive veterinary care.

Results of the present study regarding the role played by pets in the household were consistent with results of previous studies.15,19,20 Taken together, these studies support our findings that there is a strong human-animal bond in Hispanic culture and that Hispanic pet owners verbalize it in ways similar to the ways non-Hispanic White pet owners do.

Lastly, perhaps the most intriguing finding was that across all 3 locations, Hispanic owners (especially those in Mexico City) were more likely to describe their pets as “family” than were owners of other ethnic groups. This raises the question of whether acculturation impacts how Hispanic individuals perceive their pets. Scores for the LAPS did not differ significantly among study sites or race-ethnicity groups in the present study. However, these results should be interpreted with caution. The LAPS was found to have adequate construct validity and high internal consistency when it was validated with a sample of 412 pet owners in Fayette County, Ky. However, data on the racial and ethnic composition of the sample were not published, and census data31 indicate that most of the county residents are White (81.3%). Thus, the LAPS may not be a valid measure of the human-animal bond for owners of minority backgrounds. In particular, some of the questions appeared subject to misinterpretation on the basis of cultural norms. For example, respondents in Mexico City asked for clarification about what was meant by “quite often I confide in my pet” (“frequentemente confio en mi mascota”). When the interviewer explained that it meant to share thoughts with or tell thoughts to pet, respondents frequently stated that they were not crazy and would not talk to their pets in this way. The reading comprehension level necessary to understand the survey may have created additional difficulties. Some question stems were long and contained abstract words such as “privileges” and “rights.” These questions may have proven intimidating to owners with lower educational levels.

ABBREVIATIONS

BCS

Body condition score

LAPS

Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale

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