The Animal Welfare Acts 2006 (2011 in Northern Ireland) introduced a “duty of care” for all pet owners to meet the welfare needs of their pets. Until the launch of the PAW Report there was no overarching means of identifying, assessing, monitoring and improving the wellbeing of companion animals. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report has been the first step towards this and is the largest survey of its kind in conjunction with leading research agency YouGov.
PDSA has found that the health and welfare needs of over ten million cats, dogs and rabbits across the UK are not being properly met. Whilst there have been some changes in recent years across all aspects of pet wellbeing such as better diets for rabbits and increasing levels of preventive care, the state of our pet nation’s health and wellbeing could be greatly improved.
As the UK’s leading veterinary charity, we simply cannot ignore this and want to do all we can to improve the physical health and mental wellbeing of pets.
Why has PDSA produced this Report?
The purpose of the Report is to deliver an annual index (score) reflecting pet wellbeing in the UK. This means each year PDSA can measure how healthy and happy pets are.
The PAW Report is based on the five welfare needs companion animals require to be healthy and happy, as detailed in the Animal Welfare Act. Each year, respondents are surveyed about each of the five welfare needs, in direct relation to their pet, and their level of knowledge in each area.
The Report is produced in conjunction with YouGov, one of the UK’s leading research companies. YouGov has an established track record of consistently accurate and high quality survey data, representing all ages, socio-economic groups and other demographic types. We can then use these results, year on year, to provide pet owners with the support they need to give pets in the UK the lives they deserve.
The state of our pet nation
The four Reports to date paint the most accurate and comprehensive picture of animal health and wellbeing ever produced in the UK. Each shows that while we are a nation of pet lovers, unfortunately, the affection owners have for their companion animals can be misguided and sometimes detrimental to their pet’s welfare.
So many problems that are seen by animal welfare organisations across the UK are entirely preventable. People continue to make misinformed choices at every stage of their pet ownership journey, and consequently pet welfare is being compromised.
Reassuringly, almost all pet owners love their pets and treat them as valued family members. But love is not always enough. Pets deserve a life where all their physical and emotional needs are provided for, so that they can live healthy and happy lives.
Working with the pet owning public and the veterinary profession, together we can make a difference.
A better life for pets
Using the results of the PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report, we are able to raise awareness of the main issues faced by pets in society today. This, in turn, helps to shape our pet health and welfare work and ensure our education programmes and campaigns focus on these issues.
We want to work with the pet owning public to help them enjoy pet ownership through a deeper understanding of their pets’ needs. We also want the Report to act as a catalyst for debate amongst the veterinary profession and pet owners, provide areas for further academic research and encourage collaborative work between animal health and welfare organisations and the broader pet industry.
At PDSA our vision is a healthy life for all our pets, and we pledge to help educate the nation to prevent the preventable, and continue treating the sick and injured pets of people in need.