If there’s one pet hashtag we think you should share with your dog-loving friends this Christmas it’s this one: #PawsFirst. It refers to an awareness campaign from the PDSA which caught our eye earlier this month as the pet charity recently published their 2015 Animal Wellbeing PAW Report which has shown a trend for impulse-buying pets.
Most responsible dog owners will tell you how rewarding owning a dog is; being with your dog is therapeutic, they keep you active and get you outdoors, they provide unconditional love, they are loyal and more often than not, they’re pretty cute. The UK is a nation of pet lovers and most of us wouldn’t harm our pets intentionally, but the PDSA report has shown that many pet owners are unaware of what their companions need to lead a healthy, happy life.
#PawsFirst mainly caught our attention because the issue of keeping dogs active is close to our hearts and these stats from the PAW report really jumped out at us.
• 2.3 million dogs (25 per cent of the UK dog population) are routinely left alone for five hours or more. Best advice suggests that four hours should be the maximum time.
• 465,000 dogs are never taken for a walk on the lead for ten minutes or more despite daily walks and socialisation with other dogs being essential for a dog's physical and mental health.
• 33% of dogs are overweight and four out of five vets had noted a rise in obese animals needing treatment, a fact highlighted in a recent Daily Star feature which explained how PitPat can help your dog lose weight.
We thought the stats were quite surprising, but we mustn’t forget that there are many owners who love getting out and about with their dogs and one thing PitPat can help with is to monitor a dog’s activity and help the owner understand if their dog is getting enough exercise, which can be at least one worry off your mind. It’s a bit like those measuring cups for making sure you’re feeding them the right amount of food.
Another helpful tool for making sure you’re ready to be a pet parent, is the short quiz that PDSA have devised as part of their campaign which can help you find out what pet is right for you. We thought it was a nifty idea and definitely one worth sharing. So if this issue is one that touches you, we’d encourage you to tell all your friends about it and hopefully it will make sure that friends and fur-iends alike all have a Merry Woofing Christmas and a Barking New Year!