Behaviour 2019
Risk-factors associated with veterinary-related fear and aggression in owned domestic dogs
Anastasia C Stellato1, Hannah E Flint2, Tina M Widowski3, Lee Niel1. 1Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; 2Department of Comparative Pathobiology, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, IN, United States; 3Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada

Fear and aggression in dogs during veterinary care can impair dog welfare and pose a handler safety risk. We examined risk factors for dog fear and aggression within veterinary clinics using an online survey for dog owners that included dog characteristics and management, reported fear and aggression in everyday and veterinary-specific scenarios, and owner characteristics. Fear and aggression outcomes were analyzed using mixed linear regression, with participant as a random effect. Dogs (n=1,346) were more likely reported as fearful in veterinary clinics if they were neutered young, received their first nail trim at an older age, had severe non-social fear or stranger-directed fear and aggression, or a prior negative experience at the vet. Dogs (n=1,785) were more likely reported as aggressive if they received towel restraint or muzzling, or if the owner used aversive training methods in everyday or veterinary settings. Thus, dog fear and aggression within veterinary clinics are associated with factors related to dog personality, as well as previous experiences during clinic visits, highlighting areas for future research aimed at preventing veterinary-related fear and aggression.