UK ―A recent study has shown that pets in England are not as well cared for as their guardians might think. The research shows that as many as 10 million pets are suffering mental or physical stress due to a lack of understanding the animal’s needs. Is your pet well cared for? ― Global Animal
Daily Mail, David Derbyshire
Britain’s reputation as a nation of animal lovers has been rocked by a study showing at least ten million pets suffer mental or physical stress.
At least three million cats have never been vaccinated, two million dogs are left alone daily for longer than is recommended and 750,000 rabbits are fed too little hay or grass, the research indicates.
Shocked animal welfare campaigners are calling on owners to give their pets an urgent ‘health and welfare MOT’ following the findings, based on interviews with more than 11,000 people.
A spokesman for animal charity the PDSA said: ‘It is not intentional – we know that owners love their pets. But many misunderstand what their pets need.’
The charity’s YouGov survey is the first to measure the wellbeing of Britain’s 12million cats, eight million dogs and 1.7million pet rabbits.
It found five million cats, four million dogs and more than 700,000 rabbits could be suffering mental or physical stress because owners do not look after them properly.
About 2.4million dogs are mainly fed on scraps or leftovers, instead of nutritionally balanced dog food.
Such a diet puts the animal at risk of obesity and helps explain why more than one in three dogs is overweight. Half of the nation’s dogs have never gone to training classes in their first six months.
About 1.9 million dogs are left alone each day for more than four hours at a stretch, even though vets say four hours should be the maximum. Around 15 per cent of owners believe it is acceptable to leave a dog for eight hours without attention – while four per cent say dogs can be abandoned for more than ten hours without suffering.
The survey also revealed that Britain’s cats are overfed, with more than half of owners admitting their moggies are overweight.
Rabbits are also neglected, the PDSA found. In the wild they live in large groups, but 67 per cent of pet rabbits live on their own, which risks boredom and stress.
PDSA senior vet Richard Hooker said: ‘Our report reveals that there is much work to do to raise awareness of what pets need to live healthy and happy lives.’
Do you think you can meet the needs of a pet? Find out: Are You Ready To Adopt A Pet? Ten Questions