Lallemand Animal Nutrition launches PetWAG: An innovative pet well-being assessment guide
We are pleased to announce the launch of a unique tool to help veterinarians and pet owners assess dogs’ well-being: PetWAG. It is a four-step guide to measure and monitor dogs’ welfare based on personality and mood state. Additionally, it provides practical tips and nutritional solutions that will help support and improve the pet’s emotional well-being. To learn more about PetWAG, watch this video.
Francesca Susca, Global Pet Product Manager, explains: “Our company is a pioneer in the area of the gut-brain-microbiota axis from our early work in developing the first probiotic solution by Lallemand Health Solutions to address stress and anxiety in humans. Anxiety and well-being are major issues in pets, too. We are proud to help pet owners better understand and support their dogs’ well-being. With PetWAG, our customers and partners have a quantitative method to measure behavior and mood state, which can help when discussing pet well-being, nutrition, and gut-brain communication.”
The PetWAG tool was developed in partnership with pet expert Dr. Robert Falconer-Taylor, who was the Veterinary Director and Head of Education at the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology in the UK.
He explains: “In pets, as in humans, we must differenciate emotional state from mood state. Mood state is an average of all emotional states over a period of time. As a behaviorist, I consider animal body language as a window into emotions and mood states. Then, the animals’ personality is another important element to consider as it affects how he will react. PetWAG brings together pet emotion, mood states, body language and personality into one, easy-to-use tool.” Read more.
An important concern
Aggression, excessive barking, restlessness, compulsive behaviors, and destructive actions are all signs of fear and anxiety in dogs. All dogs may experience such behaviors from time to time, but — if disproportionate levels of anxiety are left unchecked — a dog can develop an anxiety disorder. These disorders can negatively affect a dog’s physical health and well-being, but they also affect the relationship with the owner and the entire family’s quality of life. This is why it is important to monitor pets’ mood state and take action before welfare is affected.
How to use PetWAG
Dogs experience a wide range of emotions, just like humans do. These emotions are expressed as a mood state. Poor mood states can lead to welfare problems in dogs and contribute to behavioral problems.
The PetWAG tool is a 4-step guide:
STEP 1: Understanding the dog’s personality profile based on four basic personality profiles.
STEP 2: Understanding the dog’s body language. Depending on their personality profile, the same body posture may have different meanings. This tool uses the top 10 most common postures that are universal across all dog breeds.
STEP 3: Tracking the dog’s changing emotional state over time. Each body posture, according to the dog’s personality type, carries a different emotional score that reflects the positive, neutral or negative contributions these emotions have on the dog’s mood state. It is recommended to record the score three times a day over a period of four weeks to calculate the dog’s Rolling Average Mood State (RAMS).
STEP 4: Understanding the dog’s RAMS. the PetWAG guide provides actionable tips to help improve a pet’s overall mood state.