Animalcare distributed a survey to dog owners, with no specific focus on age or breed.
- 2,008 completed surveys
- 49% of respondents were aged 60 or older
- 34% fell within the age range of 45 to 59
- 14% were in the age group of 30 to 44
- A minority, comprising 3%, were under 30
- 2,008 completed surveys
The majority, 72.3% of owners, showed a preference for weekly dosing rather daily dosing.
- Notably, 49% of those who favoured a weekly treatment expressed concerns about missed doses as their primary reason
- A significant 83.2% of owners indicated a preference for managing their dog’s treatment at home on weekly basis, as opposed to monthly visits to the vet
For more detailed insights, including the primary concerns of dog owners and demographic variations, please continue reading below.
To help you apply this survey’s findings effectively, we have developed a pet owner decision flow chart to assist you in discussing dosing preferences with your clients. Download for free now.
Dog Owner Survey
In August 2023, Animalcare conducted the largest pet owner survey of its kind. The primary objective was to acquire insights into the prescribing preferences of pet owners, with a specific focus on the pivotal question: ‘Would you prefer to dose your dog daily or weekly?’
To gather a broad spectrum of responses we avoided specifying any age or geographical criteria. We also avoided singling out pet owners with particular dog breeds or age groups, to ensure the authenticity and inclusivity of the survey.
The survey was conducted online, via an opt-in email sent to a database of dog owners who had previously not had any direct communication with Animalcare UK.
The survey attracted the attention of 2,411 dog owners, and an impressive 83.3% of them completed the questionnaire, resulting in a total of 2,008 completed submissions.
Among the 2,008 owner submissions, the demographic breakdown is as follows:
49% of respondents were aged 60 and above, 34% fell within the age bracket of 45-59, 14% belonged to the 30-44 age group, and a modest 3% of submissions originated from the youngest age group, aged 15-29.
We used a random utility model (Broek-Alternburg and Atherly Health Economic Review (2020) 10:18) to create a ‘standard’ scenario for the dog owner, from which they could choose one of two options irrespective of their experience. Two main questions were asked of dog owners, focusing on current prescribing options of osteoarthritis in the UK veterinary industry.
Imagine the scenario: Your dog has been prescribed some life-long medication for osteoarthritis. The vet has given you two options as to how this medication can be administered.
Would you prefer to dose your dog daily (seven doses per week) or weekly (one dose per week)?
Pet owners overwhelmingly expressed a preference for weekly dosing, with a significant 72.3% in favour. However, this percentage showed some variations among different age groups.
People aged between 30 and 44 displayed the strongest preference for weekly dosing, with over 8 out of 10 owners expressing a preference for a seven-day dosage schedule.
In contrast, pet owners over 60 exhibited the highest inclination toward daily dosing, accounting for 32% of their preferences which may be attributed to the fact that this age group is more likely to be managing daily medication for themselves.
Imagine this scenario: Your dog has been prescribed some life-long medication for osteoarthritis. The vet has given you two options as to how this medication can be administered.
Would you prefer to dose your dog monthly (at the vets) or weekly (at home)?
The preference among dog owners for a weekly dosing plan grew to 83.2% when contrasted with a monthly treatment plan administered by a vet. Variations emerged among age groups, with people over the age of 60 exhibiting the strongest inclination to oversee their pets’ treatment with a weekly medication at home. In contrast, pet owners aged 44 and under displayed a higher preference for a monthly veterinary treatment, which might seem surprising given that they would presumably need to coordinate this within their working lives.
Barriers to treatment:
We also asked the pet owners their reasons for choosing daily or weekly administration of medication to ascertain what the biggest barriers were to compliance.
Why wouldn’t you chose a medication to be given weekly?
The primary worry about weekly medication, shared by 47.5% of owners, revolved around the product’s effectiveness.
This concern was particularly pronounced among the older demographic, who placed a higher emphasis on ensuring the efficacy of the medication they gave to their dogs. Conversely, the younger demographic exhibited a lower level of concern regarding effectiveness, with only 35% of owners aged 15-29 expressing worries about the product’s performance.
Missed doses are less of a concern for those owners who wouldn’t choose a weekly medication at just 39.9%, in comparison to the concerns of missed doses on daily regimes (48%). This supports data from other studies which found that daily medications had a lower compliance than weekly.
Why wouldn’t you choose a medication to be given daily?
Among pet owners considering a daily treatment plan, the most significant concern was the possibility of missed doses. 48% of respondents identified this as their primary reason for hesitating to undertake daily treatment administration.
Establishing effective communication with the client plays a pivotal role in ensuring ongoing medical compliance. When pet owners express concerns about missed doses, these apprehensions can often be addressed with straightforward adjustments to the medication schedule.
In addition the capacity to administer the medication and the apprehension regarding potential stress experienced by the animal during this process, as reported by 171 owners under the ‘Other’ category, constituted a concern for 31% of the pet owners surveyed.
How you can you use this study in practice?
- Treat each client interaction individually
Each conversation in practice should be as unique as your clients are. What works for one, might not work for another. Different treatment plans might have more success depending on the patient or the owner.
Although not an exact science, there were some noticeable differences when it came to owner profiles recorded in the survey – try and remember these in practice:
15 – 29 – 74% of owners prefer weekly treatment vs daily and 77% are in favour of weekly home regimes to monthly at the vets. Most concerned with missed doses but less concerned with effectiveness.
30 – 44 – 81% (highest of any demographic) in favour of weekly vs daily, also 73% in favour of at home management. Consistent concerns with missed dosing at both daily and weekly regimes.
45 – 59 – 75% in favour of weekly dosing. Lowest concern of any demographic for missed daily doses, high concern for effectiveness of medication.
60+ – 68% in favour of weekly dosing and 87% (largest of any demographic) in favour of at home medication. Demographic with highest amount of dog owners.
- Discuss different treatment options and tailor them to the client
Put the owner at the centre of your OA conversations and discuss treatment options that suit them and the patient. Remember that certain owners will suit different treatment regimes. Engaged owners will lead to improved compliance.
Download our free client decision maker flow chart to use in practice. This handy tool will prompt you to discuss treatment options with your dog owners when they come into practice.
- Continue to monitor that the prescribed medication is still working for the client – and change if necessary.
Missed doses not only negatively impact the dogs welfare and long-term management of OA, they can also have a financial implications to both your practice and the client.
Consistent missed doses will result in the owner paying for medication that isn’t used and potentially the owner will have to pay more in the long term to manage clinical signs that have developed – including the reversal of central sensitisation.
Central sensitisation is a pain state where the nerves in the central nervous system i.e., spinal cord and brain, respond negatively to a much lower stimulus than compared to a normal healthy individual. A bit like amplifying the sound on a speaker. The same pain signal is going in but what is coming out is amplified i.e., a much louder signal is being transmitted and received by the patient, i.e., a more intense and greater pain perception.
Missed doses can also have a negative impact on practice revenue. On average daily treatment plans will last 10% longer than weekly ones – due to missed doses. This means for every 28 days of treatment you give your client – they may only need to return to your practice after 30 or 31 days. That’s 2 or 3 days of missed revenue, when you add that up over a year, and for every dog on daily medication, it can be a sizeable amount of missed revenue for your practice.
Use our financial calculator tool to work out how much daily dosing could be costing your practice.
- Learn more.
If you are interested to hear more about this survey and discuss weekly OA management options please book a meeting with one of our TSMs.
You can view the dog owner survey in full here.
Alternatively you can find out more about Daxocox® – first and only weekly NSAID for Canine Osteoarthritis.