Are we killing our pets with kindness?

31 March 2017

Recognising when a pet is overweight is the top issue vets and vet nurses wish UK pet owners knew about their animals, according to new findings released for National Pet Month (April).

More than one in five of veterinary professionals (23%) said the number one thing they wished their client knew about their pet was diet-related, with suggestions ranging from considering “Am I feeding them the right food?” to “Pets need a lot less food than we think!”, and “We have to protect them from themselves and not give into that 'look', especially where food is concerned!”

Over 500 vets and vet nurses across the UK were polled by the Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition, which is made up of leading veterinary organisations and vet-led animal charities and aims to help pet owners better understand their pets' five welfare needs.

The answers given fell into 26 different themes, covering a wide variety of pet care issues. The top five most frequently mentioned things veterinary professionals wished all pet owners knew are:

  • How to recognise when your animal is overweight
  • That flat-faced breeds suffer lots of health and welfare issues
  • How to recognise signs that your animal is in pain
  • You have a responsibility to care for your pet properly and follow the five animal welfare needs
  • That your veterinary team is the best place to go to for advice on all areas of pet care, including what may be the most suitable pet for you.

Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association said:
“Every owner loves their pet; however, the vet team often see animals with problems that could be avoided. Vets and vet nurses are invaluable sources for pet care information with years of training and experience under their belts, and will be more than happy to answer any queries or concerns owners may have about their pets.”

Every day throughout National Pet Month, the Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition – the British Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Nursing Association, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Zoological Society, Blue Cross, PDSA and RSPCA – will be tweeting the various things vets and vet nurses wished pet owners knew. To find out more, check out their Twitter feeds or follow the hashtag #Wewishyouknew.

Samantha Morgan, President of the British Veterinary Nursing Association, said:
“People bring their pets to the veterinary practice when they are sick, however, what they also do not realise is that the Veterinary team can also provide a lot of advice for keeping pets healthy too. From diet and exercise, to flea and worming treatments, veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons have the knowledge to keep pets happy.”

The Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition was formed to meet the recommendations in the Vet Futures project and aims to deliver awareness raising and behaviour change communication campaigns, based around responsible pet ownership and the five welfare needs as outlined in the Animal Welfare Acts.

BVA Media Office