Purina Institute to host virtual symposium presenting behavioural insights into pet weight management | Companion Consultancy

Purina Institute to host virtual symposium presenting behavioural insights into pet weight management

The Purina Institute is sharing talks from its recent BVNA symposium on owner behaviours around pet weight management, bringing the recorded sessions online to reach a larger veterinary audience. Presented originally at the BVNA Congress in Telford in October, the talks will feature psychologist Prof Thomas Webb from the University of Sheffield, together with behavioural science researcher and Purina Corporate Affairs Manager, Hugues du Plessis.

Hugues du Plessis

In the recordings, both expert speakers will present insights from their recent research and explore how psychology and behavioural science could provide innovative ways to help veterinary professionals engage with owners on managing the weight of their pet.¹ ² ³ The event also explores insights from human healthcare and examines how we can learn from and build on these in veterinary practice.

The event will run from 7:30pm–8:45pm on Wednesday 15th December, though registration will remain open after this date with the session available on demand. All interested vets and nurses can register here: https://www.veterinarywebinars.com/institute-symposium/, and those who sign up before 15th December have the chance to enter a free prize draw.*

Thomas Webb

The talks will give a short overview of key aspects of the ‘COM-B’ approach to behavioural change, before exploring how veterinary professionals could engage with owners of overweight and obese pets in a collaborative approach based on the model. The event will be hosted by Purina Scientific Affairs Manager and vet, Dr Libby Sheridan, who explains how behavioural science might hold the key to managing pet weight more successfully:

“Nutrition and exercise are well-known elements of pet overweight and obesity management, but it’s often difficult to achieve a long-lasting impact without owners changing their routines or behaviour in some way,” she says. “For vets and nurses in this situation, insights from behavioural science can really make a difference, as they help us understand how to support owners to alter their habits, which is necessary both for weight loss and maintenance of optimal weight in the longer term.”

The symposium will consist of three twenty-minute talks, ending with a live Q&A with Dr Libby Sheridan. All those who register prior to the launch of the event can choose to enter a prize draw for the chance to win one of ten free copies of Susan Michie’s “The Behavioural Change Wheel” (RRP £18.99), an acclaimed science-based guide for practitioners that introduces a systematic method for designing and evaluating behavioural change interventions.

All those interested can register for the virtual symposium and enter the prize draw at https://www.veterinarywebinars.com/institute-symposium/.


  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.
  2. Webb TL, Krasuska M, Toth Z, H.R. du Plessis H, Colliard L. Using research on self-regulation to understand and tackle the challenges that owners face helping their (overweight) dogs to lose weight. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2018;159:227-231. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.08.017
  3. Webb TL. Why pet owners overfeed: a self-regulation perspective. Proceedings of the Nestlé Purina Companion Animal Nutrition Summit on “Pet Obesity: The Future of Weight Management”. 2015.

*Prize draw is for the chance to win one of ten free copies of Susan Michie’s “The Behavioural Change Wheel”. T&Cs apply: Draw is open to veterinary practice staff from the UK, ROI, CI and IoM registering for the Purina Behavioural Science of Obesity Virtual Symposium, launching on the 15th December 2021 only. Closing date for final entry is 23:59 on 14.12.2021. Draw will take place on 16.12.2021 and winners notified by email. Further details and full T&Cs available at: https://www.veterinarywebinars.com/institute-symposium/