Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Centres: RVC Animal Welfare Science and Ethics, Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health

Emma completed her PhD studies in the Centre for Animal Welfare (Dogs - Interpreting Canine Behaviour). Her thesis title is "Objective and subjective assessments of positive emotional states in companion dogs".

Emma currently works on a VetCompass project titled "Current usage of antimicrobials in UK cats and dogs".


Emma graduated from the University of Bristol in 2009, after completion of the BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare programme.

Emma spent 18 months (July 2009 - November 2010), as a research assistant at the RVC, studying the welfare of companion dogs in the UK. Sponsored by a major animal charity, the work aimed to provide an objective outline of the best way to focus limited resources to tackle multidisciplinery companion dog welfare issues. This work incorporated estimating the number of pet dogs in the UK, using stakeholder and expert opinion on tackling welfare issues, and the development of a quantitative tool to measure welfare priority using risk assessment principles.

Between December 2010 and 2014, Emma completed a 4-year PhD studentship programme funded by BBSRC and RVC (fees and stipend only). She was supervised by Siobhan AbeyesingheHolger Volk and Charlotte Burn.

Emma currently work at a Research Assistant within the Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics & Public Health (VEEPH) research group. She is investigating the current usage of systemic antibacterials in cats and dogs, using the VetCompass database (, with David Brodbelt, David Church, Dan O'Neill and Jennifer Summers.

Emma's research interests centre around the relationship between humans and animals within society, in particular how welfare can be improved through improved public understanding of animal behaviour and welfare needs.

For her thesis, Emma identified behavioural and physiological signals of positive emotional states in dogs, considering measures of both emotional valence and arousal. She also examined influences of personality or temperament traits, breed, age, and other variables on the expression of positive emotion in dogs. Further, objective measurements were compared with subjective (opinion-based) measures to determine the accuracy and reliablity of interpretation of emotion emotion signals by key stakeholders.

Emma was awarded a UFAW Research and Project Award (2011-2012) for research costs towards her PhD studies.  She also gained the Nestle Purina Petcare Travel Award to present her research at the 48th congress for the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE), 2014.


Buckland EL, Burn CC, Volk HA & Abeyesinghe SM (2014). Behavioural and physiological indicators of affective valence and arousal in companion dogs. Conference proceedings: 48th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, At Vitoria-Gastiez, Spain. Page 121.

Buckland EL, Volk HA, Burn CC & Abeyesinghe SM (2014) Owner perceptions of companion dog expressions of positive emotional states and the contexts in which they occur. Animal Welfare 23 (3): 287-296. Accessed here:

Buckland EL, Cor SA, Abeyesinghe SM & Wathes CM 2014 Prioritisation of companion dog welfare issues using expert consensus. Animal Welfare 23(1): 39-46. Accessed here:

Buckland, EL 2013 Priority welfare issues for dogs and the veterinary nursing profession. The Veterinary Nurse 4(7): 448. Accessed here:

Buckland EL, Whiting MC, Abeyesinghe SM, Asher L, Corr S and Wathes CM 2013 A survey of stakeholders' opinions on the priority issues affecting the welfare of companion dogs in Great Britain. Animal Welfare 22: 239-253. Accessed here:

Buckland E, Volk H, Burn C and Abeyesinghe S 2012 Owner-percieved behavioural indicators of positive affective states in companion dogs. Proceedings of the 46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology: Quality of life in desinged environments? 31 July- 4th August 2012, Vienna, Austria, page 200. Accessed here:

Asher L, Buckland EL, Phylactopoulos IC, Whiting M, Abeyesinghe S and Wathes CM 2011 Estimation of the number and demographics of companion dogs in the UK. BMC Veterinary Research 7: 74. Accessed here:



Emma co-supervises undergraduate research projects related to companion animal behaviour and human-animal interactions, and has lectured for several undergraduate teaching modules on the topics of canine behaviour, welfare and research skills.

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