Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Dogs experience both acute and chronic stress when living in animal shelters. Current best practices recommend a variety of techniques for reducing stress such as enhanced human interactions including play or training, novel feeding strategies...

This great cool-down snack is ideal for group or singly housed swine or nonhuman primates (particularly in larger pen-style housing). This item can be customized for canines as well by modifying the liquid used and/or...

Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and...

In dogs, the social and spatial restriction associated with living in a kennel environment could lead to chronic stress and the development of abnormal behaviors (“kennel-dog syndrome”). However, little is known about how kenneled dogs...

Animal shelters can be stressful environments and time in care may affect individual dogs in negative ways, so it is important to try to reduce stress and arousal levels to improve welfare and chance of...

One of the goals of environmental enrichment is to encourage species-typical behaviors, while discouraging abnormal behaviors or stereotypies. Assessing the effectiveness of various enrichment modalities can be challenging, particularly for prey species such as rabbits...

Shelter environments are stressful for dogs, as they must cope with many stimuli over which they have little control. This can lead to behavioural changes, negatively affect their welfare and downgrade the human‐animal bond, affecting...

Unwanted dogs are an international problem, and rehoming organisations are tasked with finding many of them appropriate homes. Whilst the processes involved in assessing dogs' suitability for rehoming have received considerable academic attention, the policies...

A retrospective statistical study has been performed in order to identify the biological, clinical and behavioural variables that could potentially predict the survival status of irradiated non-human primates (NHP) and to refine the future use...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

This article gives the recipe for making dog treats. These treats are not only refreshing for dogs, but also easy to make. Mix and match dog friendly fruits and veggies to make many treat varieties.

Color perception and color signaling play an important role in various aspects of animal behavior. However, in mammals, trichromatic vision characterized by three retinal photopigments tuned to peak short, middle and long wavelengths is limited...

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

Worldwide, millions of dogs are held in kennels for extended periods of time and may experience compromised welfare. Enrichment, often using toys, is considered important to minimize the negative impacts of kennelling. However, the value...

Environmental enrichment used in captive animals with goals of increasing the activity, behavioral diversity, utilization of the environment and reducing abnormal behaviors. The present study was designed to determine the springing feeding bottles toy ameliorative...

The overpopulation of shelters and the increase of homeless dogs have become serious problems in many countries. One contributor to the number of both sheltered and homeless dogs is the abandonment and relinquishment of pet...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

Music therapy yields many positive health outcomes in humans, but the effects of music on the health and welfare of nonhuman animals vary greatly with the type of music played, the ethology of the species...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

It is increasingly required that non-human animals in laboratories are provided with adequate enrichment to promote the welfare of the animals. In a previous publication we showed that laboratory dogs intensively used the horn of...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

Cognitive testing programs are being implemented more frequently in zoo settings due to the benefits these programs can provide for the animals, researchers and zoo visitors. However, the impact that cognitive studies have on the...

Heart rate variability (HRV), the variability between subsequent heart beats, is a measure of autonomic tone, influenced by psychophysiological factors, neurohormonal mechanisms and cardiac disease. Auditory stimulation, specifically classical music, has been documented to benefit...

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