(BVA Press Release) The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomes the third PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report which delivers an annual insight into pet health and wellbeing.
The survey highlights that the welfare needs of millions of UK pets are still being badly neglected – resulting in a nation of ill, lonely, aggressive, stressed and obese pets.
The report draws attention to a number of worrying trends, for example:
· Insufficient exercise coupled with poor diets is resulting in obesity levels of around a third in the UK’s dog population
· Around 1.9 million or 25% of UK dogs are being left alone for five hours or more which can lead to worrying behaviour problems
· Around 1 in 4 cats are overweight
· 2.3 million cats are not vaccinated against potentially life-threatening diseases
· Rabbits are highly social animals yet 65% of UK rabbits continue to live alone with no company from their own species
BVA President Robin Hargreaves said:
“The PAW report provides us with fantastic insight into people’s awareness of their pets’ needs, and helps us as veterinary surgeons to understand the motivations behind our clients’ actions.
“This is particularly useful at a time when we are increasingly trying to base our advice to clients on an evidence base. Through this understanding we can help our clients to become more responsible pet owners.
“By tracking trends year-on-year the PAW Report is also helping us to see where our initiatives have made an impact. For example, by working together the veterinary profession, PDSA and other charities have helped raise awareness of the importance of microchipping in a short space of time.
“But across a range of health and welfare issues there is a huge amount more to do.
“BVA will continue to work with PDSA and others to support and educate dog, cat, and rabbit owners and make sure they understand the needs of their animals.”
Although an overwhelming 91% of the public believe it is important to regularly monitor pet wellbeing, the report revealed that awareness of the Animal Welfare Act and the five welfare needs within it is at an all-time low.
A shocking 8.3 million pet owning households are not familiar with the five basic things that pets need to be healthy and happy.
Mr Hargreaves added:
“I would encourage all vets in practice to read the PAW Report, which highlights areas of particular concern with an ‘Action needed’ stamp, and to promote the PDSA’s Big Pet Check, a new innovative digital tool designed to improve awareness of the five basic pet welfare needs.
“Education is key. Many health and welfare problems are preventable and by all pulling together we can help to make a real difference to the wellbeing the nation’s pets.”