Vol. 7 No. 2 (2021)

Street dogs opt for proteins over carbs: An experimental inference from streets of Kathmandu

Laxman Khanal
Central Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

Published 2021-09-27


  • Mark-capture-recapture,
  • Monochromatic dogs,
  • Population density,
  • One-time-multi-option choice test,
  • Spaying


Proper management of street dogs demands knowledge on their multiple aspects including population, behaviour and food preferences. This study was conducted in Kirtipur Municipality, Kathmandu aiming to estimate the population of street dogs and explore their foraging behaviour and food preferences. Street dogs were surveyed along the unidirectional route and the population estimation was done by the photographic mark-capture-recapture method using the Program MARK. Food preference by street dogs were tested by one-time-multi-option choice test. The total population of street dogs in the study area was estimated to be 342 (95% CI 316–376), males 227 (95% CI 206–256), females 93 (95% CI 87–106) and spayed female to be 29 (95% CI 27–34). The population density was 855 dogs per km2 with the female to male sex ratio of 1:2.45. Mostly (73%) of dogs got food from humans by begging, they were scavenging and searching less (27%). Dogs showed a clear preference of protein at their first choice during carbohydrate vs protein test and real food experiment (p < 0.05). There was a significant rejection of carbohydrates over proteins (p < 0.0001). These findings could be useful in management of street dogs in areas of their high density.