Purina Institute to present new obesity insights at BVNA Congress

Purina Institute to present new obesity insights at BVNA Congress

The Purina Institute will share new research into obesity management in a cutting-edge symposium at BVNA Congress. The session, delivered by Purina together with research authors, will delve into the key role of behavioural science in achieving successful pet weight management. Expert speakers will share insights from their research and explore how nurses can harness the findings to support owners to achieve their goals. The 90-minute symposium will begin at 11am on Saturday 2nd October and all BVNA delegates are welcome to attend. Registration for BVNA is open at https://the-bvna-shop.myshopwired.com/.

In the Purina Institute symposium, delegates will hear from behavioural psychologist Dr Thomas Webb and PURINA Corporate Affairs Manager Hugues du Plessis. These experts have recently collaborated on a new study that advances our understanding of how owners’ beliefs and behaviours are associated with canine obesity.1 The speakers will present their fascinating findings and discuss how veterinary teams can use these insights to identify potential targets for interventions.

Throughout the symposium, research findings will be combined with learnings from human healthcare to identify how nurses can best support owners to adopt healthy and balanced behaviours towards their pet. Delegates will learn how psychology may aid us in understanding owners’ beliefs and motivations, and how we can use behavioural science to help pet owners change their actions.

One key finding to be discussed is that owners of overweight dogs are less likely to have social support from friends for exercising their dog. The session will explore the implications of this and consider how interventions to address the issue, such as encouraging owners to develop social networks around dog walking, may help in pet obesity management.

PURINA® Scientific Affairs Manager Dr Libby Sheridan MVB MRCVS, who will be hosting the symposium, explains that these behavioural insights could prove very useful for nurses. “Veterinary teams know that successful obesity management depends upon owners changing their habits and routines, but this can be very challenging to achieve,” she says. “Nurses play a key role here in providing ongoing owner support. At Purina we’re delighted to share our latest research to help nurses learn how to do this most effectively.”

The symposium will consist of three twenty-minute talks, each followed by a ten-minute Q&A session in which delegates can quiz the speakers on their research and explore the practical implications to gain take-home tips. Pre-registration is not required for the Purina Institute symposium, though all those attending must have a ticket for BVNA Congress.

All those interested in registering for Congress can sign up at https://the-bvna-shop.myshopwired.com/.


  1. Webb TL, du Plessis H, Christian H, et al. Understanding obesity among companion dogs: New measures of owner’s beliefs and behaviour and associations with body condition scores. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2020 Jul;180:105029. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105029.