The state of our pet nation 2011:
Stressed. Lonely. Overweight. Bored. Aggressive. Misunderstood … but loved
The five animal welfare needs:
Environment - The need for a suitable environment (place to live)
- When it comes to a dog’s safe travel, the responses are not positive. 19% of owners state that their dog travels on the back seat without a seat belt and 18% that their dog is in the boot without a dog guard.
- When it comes to exercise, results indicate that dog owners are good at keeping their pets fairly active. 75% of dogs get taken for a walk at least once a day and 87% playing in the garden daily. A further 69% play with toys daily. 58% of dog owners state that three or more exercise activities as well as walking are available to their dog every day – whether this is play in the garden, playing with toys, agility training or swimming.
Diet - The need for a suitable diet
- 29%, or the equivalent of 2.4 million dogs, are fed on scraps or leftovers as one of their main types of food when they should be getting a complete balanced diet.
- 98% of dog owners give their dog a treat at some point, with 42% giving a daily treat.
- Only 16% of dog owners decide how much to feed their dog based on its weight or body shape, and just 14% ask a vet or seek other veterinary professional advice. Knowing the correct body shape and weight for your pet is the first step to helping your pet stay a healthy weight.
- Only 33% of owners actually feel their pet’s body to determine whether it is a healthy shape.
- Worryingly, 26% of owners use ‘common sense’ and 19% ‘past experience with dogs’ when it comes to deciding how much to feed them. This is worrying as PDSA health checks show that 35% are overweight.
- While owners do appear to consider the nutritional needs of their dogs, what they feed does not always match up to their dog’s requirements. For example, 25% of young dogs are eating a ‘normal adult’ diet when they should still be on a puppy or junior food formulated specially for growth.
- 7% of owners give their dogs human chocolate as a treat. This is extremely concerning as human chocolate contains theobromine which can cause severe illness or even death in dogs. Other human foods that can be poisonous to dogs include grapes, raisins, sultanas and onions.
Behaviour - The need to be able to express normal behaviour
- BEHAVIOUR MELTDOWN – Over 165,000 dogs show aggression towards people on a weekly basis.
- 35% of dog owners would consider giving up their dog if its behaviour became a problem so it is vital to consider their behavioural needs before problems arise.
Companionship - The need to live with, or apart from, other animals
- HOME ALONE – 1.9 million dogs are left alone for longer than recommended every day.
- 23% of owners leave their dog alone in a house for five or more hours on a typical weekday, or they do not monitor for how long the dog is left for.
Health - The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
- 34% (2.8 million) are not neutered
- 29% (2.4 million) are never treated for fleas
- 18% (1.5 million) have never been vaccinated
- 14% (1.1 million) are not wormed
- 10% (830,000) are not registered with a vet
- 30% (2.5 million) are not micro chipped
Of those who haven’t had their dog neutered:
- 20% said they didn’t believe in it
- 15% had not thought about it
- 15% would like to breed from their dog
- 12% were ‘worried about changes in personality‘
- 10% thought it was too expensive