A study of 2,012 UK pet owners for the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has revealed more than three-quarters (77%) believe their pet’s health is as important or more important than their own.
According to the research, 16% of respondents visit their vet more than their own doctor, which, said NOAH, suggests owners “are taking on board messages to seek expert health care advice for their pets”.
The study – which also found 86% of participants turn to vets as a trusted source of advice on pet health – was carried out to mark the launch of NOAH’s revamped www.pethealthinfo.org.uk website and the second year of its I Heart My Pet campaign. The campaign, designed to encourage owners to seek expert preventive health advice for their animals, was created in response to NOAH figures which, said the organisation, show many owners neglect to take measures such as vaccination and worming.
Elsewhere in the study, three priorities for how owners choose a veterinary practice were identified:
- Expertise of the staff (69%).
- Convenience of the location (67%).
- Cleanliness and modern facilities (38%).
The research also examined the welfare factors owners consider are most important, citing a safe environment for their pets to live and sleep in (80%), access to nutritious food and water (76%) and access to expert health care (42%).
NOAH chief executive Philip Sketchley said the findings once again encouraged the organisation “how seriously British pet owners take the health care needs of their animals and the love they clearly have for their pets“.
He said: “As we move into the second year of our I Heart My Pet campaign, we’re calling on all pet owners in the UK to share this love by getting involved with the campaign and visiting our revamped website for independent, expert advice to keep their pets happy and healthy all year round. We’re encouraging veterinary and pet professionals to get involved and join the conversation on the site as well as through our social media communities on Twitter (@IHeartMyPet) and Facebook (IHeartMyPetUK).”
The new website contains information on animal health care as well as resources for owners, said Mr Sketchley, but in a “fresh new format“.
“[It is] more interactive and designed for use with mobile devices,” he said. “We still encourage vet practices and pet businesses to link to the site, and to recommend it to support their own advice and information.
“In addition, we can offer veterinary and pet professionals materials such as campaign window stickers to help engage their audiences,” he said.
For more information, visit the Pet Health Info website.