Behaviour directed towards inaccessible food predicts consumption: a novel way of assessing food preference

Thompson, Hannah and Riemer, Stefanie and Ellis, Sarah and Burman, Oliver (2016) Behaviour directed towards inaccessible food predicts consumption: a novel way of assessing food preference. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 178 . ISSN 0168-1591

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Abstract

tWhen determining an animal’s food preference based on comparative consumption, a major problemis the potential for individuals to over-eat, rendering subjects unavailable for subsequent tests as wellas exposing them to potentially adverse health implications. Here, we explored alternative, simple andquick ways of assessing food preference that involved only minimal training and avoided satiation. InStudy 1, we investigated whether behaviour directed towards inaccessible food predicted consummatorychoice. Following a prime with small quantities of two types of food of putatively different quality,18 pet dogs were concurrently presented with the same two food types in a manner that they couldsee and smell, but not physically access. Time spent investigating the two inaccessible food types wasmeasured. Subsequently, the dogs were given the opportunity to consume the same two food types butthis time in a restricted-intake consummatory test: two puzzle feeders were presented simultaneously,each containing 18 pieces of one of the two food types. The proportion of food types making up the first18 pieces consumed was recorded. Subjects showed a highly significant preference for the food typepredicted to be of higher value in both the non-consummatory and the consummatory test. Moreoverthe proportion of time spent investigating the two food types in the non-consummatory test was verysimilar to the proportion of the two food types consumed from the puzzle feeders, demonstrating validityof both test methods. There are, however, some limitations to the consummatory test, in particular thatit can only be valid if the two food types to be compared are of similar ease to extract from the boards.To assess the generalizability of the non-consummatory food preference test, in Study 2 we investigatedtest-retest reliability in 20 dogs, as well as consistency of preferences across populations by comparing20 owned pet dogs and 25 dogs housed in rescue shelters. Findings were consistent across repetitionsof the test as well as across the two test populations. Thus, relative food preference could be confidentlyand reliably inferred from behaviour during a non-consummatory exposure. The ease and speed of use,the lack of traini

Keywords:Preference Testing, Food Reward, JCNotOpen
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
C Biological Sciences > C390 Zoology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:23148
Deposited On:20 May 2016 19:17

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