YouGov has partnered with PDSA since 2011 on their annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report. The PAW Report is the leading source of insight into pet well-being in the UK. Since its launch, this research has been giving PDSA a thorough understanding of the key issues facing our pet nation.
In 2018, YouGov worked with The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) on their annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report. The report provides an in-depth analysis of current issues affecting pets and encourages further collaboration to help tackle them. The PAW Report has been used to influence and support PDSA’s policy and practice in four key areas: awareness-raising campaigns, trend monitoring, collaborative sectoral working and internal clinical strategy.
It also provides insight on pet owners’ behaviour, knowledge and opinions, and focuses on five topic areas concerning animal welfare needs: companionship, environment, diet, behaviour and health.
YouGov conducted a survey of 4,639 dog, cat and rabbit owners in the UK aged 18+. The sample was drawn from the YouGov panel and structured to be representative of the overall population of pet owners by pet species and the owner’s age, gender and region. In parallel, we conducted a survey of 549 veterinary professionals, sourced through PDSA’s own networks.
YouGov collaborated with PDSA on analysing the results and contributed to the production and publication of the eighth annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report.
Results and findings
- A quarter (24%) of pet owners in the UK didn’t do any research at all before taking on their pet, potentially posing risks to the long-term health and welfare of millions of animals.
- The Animal Welfare Acts* identify 5 Welfare Needs: diet, health, behaviour, environment and companionship. The PAW Report reveals that companionship (being housed with or apart from other animals) is the least well-recognised welfare need, identified by just 18% of pet owners. More often, owners wrongly believe human companionship (29%) is among the five welfare needs.
- A quarter (24%) of dogs, despite being very sociable animals, are generally left alone at home on weekdays for five hours or more – which is longer than the recommended four hour maximum advised by PDSA and other animal welfare organisations.
- More than half of pet rabbits (54%), who are also a highly social species, live alone without the companionship of another rabbit – despite proof that living a solitary life can seriously impact on their physical and mental health.
- Roughly two in five (43%) cat owners report having more than one cat, despite 19% of cats not getting along with another cat or cats in the household. PDSA advises that, as naturally solitary animals, being placed in an environment with feline company that they haven’t chosen can be very stressful for cats, and steps must be taken in multi-cat households to provide cats with an environment that allows them space away from one another should they choose.
* Animal Welfare Acts refers to Animal Welfare Act 2006 covering England and Wales, the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 2011.
“YouGov have provided us with fantastic support and guidance throughout the process of producing our annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Reports. From our first meeting, they understood perfectly what we wanted to achieve and worked tirelessly to sometimes tight timescales. The research has been incredibly valuable to us, and is used to shape all of our pet health and welfare work through the use of robust, credible research. I would have no hesitation in recommending YouGov to anyone.”
About the brand
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. Every year, the dedicated teams at our 48 Pet Hospitals work tirelessly to provide 2.7 million veterinary treatments. This helps over 470,000 much-loved pets and brings peace of mind to 300,000 owners. At PDSA, saving, protecting and healing pets is what we’re all about. We are dedicated to improving pet wellbeing in three very special ways – by educating owners, preventing disease and treating poorly pets.
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