The PDSA has admitted owner awareness of pet welfare needs are “disappointing and worrying”, with the publication of its third annual animal well-being survey.

The 2013 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, launched on December 12, 2013, was conducted by pollsters YouGov and surveyed more than 2,000 dog, cat and rabbit owners, 555 children and 549 vets and vet nurses.
It discovered owner awareness of welfare legislation has declined over the past three years, and just seven per cent of children are aware of the concept of the five needs.
Key findings include:

  • The number of owners aware of the Animal Welfare Act has declined from 45% to 38% since 2011
  • Only seven per cent of children have heard of the five welfare needs
  • Only four per cent of owners seek veterinary advice before buying a new pet
  • The top three concerns for nurses and vets remain unchanged; owner awareness of the true cost of ownership, awareness of the five welfare needs and pre-purchase research by owners
“The finding of this years’ PAW report are disappointing and worrying,” vet and PDSA head of pet health and welfare Nicola Martin said.  
“There have been some encouraging signs of improvement, such as the growth in levels of microchipped pets and increased awareness of preventive health care, that show what can be achieved when we have one consistent message coming from the profession. 
“But overall there is still much work to be done to educate pet owners and future owners on animal welfare.”
PDSA has also revealed an online tool to help owners improve their understanding of the five welfare needs, and how they relate to their cat, dog or rabbit. 
The Big Pet Check asks owners simple questions about their pets’ lifestyles and makes recommendations for improvements in each of the five welfare categories.  
To take part in the PDSA Big Pet Check, download the 2013 PAW Report or watch a new PDSA animation on the state of the pet nation at www.abetterlifeforpets.org.uk  


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