The fifth annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report was released this week. Its findings, which are based on a UK-wide survey of pet owners and veterinary professionals, uncovered some disturbing truths.
4.5 million owners were discovered to do no research at all before getting a pet. As a result, many owners may be unfamiliar with their animals’ basic needs.
The organisation also learnt that familiarity with the Animal Welfare Act has decreased over the last five years. Less than one third – 31 percent – of pet owners believed they were familiar with their responsibility as a pet owner as detailed in this legislation.
“Impulse acquisitions and busy lifestyles” are at the root of the problem, claimed PDSA head of pet health and welfare, and vet, Nicola Martin. Buying a pet should be a carefully considered, well researched decision, yet the statistics suggest many pet owners appear to be lacking the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.
- 465,000 dogs are never walked out of their home or garden for ten minutes or more on the lead
- 2.8 million cats have never been vaccinated
- Over half of UK rabbits live alone; a situation that may cause suffering to the sociable animals
Education may be the solution. The PDSA will be launching a #PawsFirst campaign to tackle these ongoing welfare issues. Industry members can learn more – and encourage their customers to get involved – at www.pdsa.org.uk/pawsfirst. Until this problem is addressed the industry may find that a percentage of owners will be inadvertently causing serious damage to their pets’ health.