Ungoing Research Projects


Different studies have observed an improvement of the welfare of zoo animals, dogs, cats, horses through olfactory enrichment with essential oils. Nevertheless, all these studies are pointing out the urge to conduct further research in order to increase the diverse possiblities of essential oils.  Indeed, further understanding of the effects of olfactory enrichment with essential oils can significantly increase animal’s welfare and improve the relationship between animals and humans. This is the reason why Vet Ethology conducts, together with different universities, ongoing research on olfactory enrichment with essential oils.

Our latest research study, conducted in collaboration with Pisa University and Odisee University College, has revealed positive effects of olfactory enrichment with essential oils on shelter dogs welfare.

Uccheddu S., Mariti C., Sannen A., Vervaecke H., Arnout H., Gutierrez Rufo J., Gazzano A., Haverbeke A., 2018. Behavioural and cortisol responses of shelter dogs to a cognitive bias test after olfactory enrichment with essential oils. Dog Behavior, 2, 1-14, doi 10.4454/db.v4i2.87

Olfactory exposure of Lavendel essential oil helps dogs to relax quicker.

Janssens S., 2018, bachelor thesis at Odisee University College. Supervisors: Dr. Adinda Sannen and Dr. Anouck Haverbeke. Article under review.

A preliminary study on olfactory enrichment on shelter dogs revealed interesting results on dogs posture. Thanks to the Belgian Press for their support!

Haverbeke A., Debel M., Uccheddu S., 2016. Behavioural responses of shelter dogs to olfactory stimulation. Proceedings of the 10th International Veterinary Behaviour Meeting, Cascais, Portugal.


Vet Ethology is taking part in a project, conducted in collaboration with ENVA, Veterinary University of Paris, where the welfare of horses living in active stables is assessed and compared to other housing structures (stables, paddock paradise…).

Titeux E., Haverbeke A., Lavillerie C., Gilbert C., 2018. New housing in horses : are “paddock paradise” and active stables really improving welfare? Proceedings of the 12th International Veterinary Behaviour Meeting Poster, Berlin, Germany.


If you have had at least two dogs, one of whom died while the other was still alive, you are invited to participate in this web-based online survey.

This survey is part of a research study that aims to explore whether and how a dog and his/her owner may experience grief over the loss of a companion dog. If you had more than one remaining dog, and you so wish, you may fill out one form per dog.

It should take approximately 20 minutes to complete the questionnaire: