The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report returns at The Webinar Vet with a webinar aimed at exploring the implications for pet welfare in the UK today. Composed by a panel of expert speakers, both a discussion and live questions allow the audience to immerse themselves in the discussion. 

The PAW Report is the UK’s largest and most comprehensive assessment of pet wellbeing. Working with the leading market research organisation, YouGov, PDSA surveys a nationally representative sample of pet owners to provide insight into key welfare issues, monitor trends and the impact of new legislation and inform human behaviour change campaigns. 

Conducted every year since 2011, 12 years of data allows accurate comparison and identification of trends in how owners are acquiring pets and providing for their 5 Welfare Needs, as well as providing a reliable estimation of pet populations. The Report will be available to view from 1st July at www.pdsa.org.uk/PAW 

There are 10.2 million dogs in the UK, of which 6% are acquired from abroad. 11% of these 10.2 million dogs show signs of distress and only 79% of dogs receive their annual vaccinations. In regard to cats, there are 11.1 million in the UK, of which 5% were acquired from abroad and 44% show signs of stress, with 89% having been neutered. In the UK there are 1 million rabbits of which 11% have not received any healthcare and only 52% are received a booster vaccination. 

Points discussed in the webinar:

1. Pet Acquisition:

Concerns about the acquisition of pets abroad, the possibility of zoonotic diseases and the health risks involved were discussed. There was also a discussion on the process of determining if the pet is suitable for the UK and ensuring that they can adapt to their new environment. 

2. Mutilation in pets:

The UK has tried to bring about change and education campaigns so that people understand why it is not legal to mutilate pets, for example, cutting ears on dogs or claws on cats. But people continue to bring in pets from other parts of the world precisely because they have these characteristics. How to fight back and generate stronger campaigns are discussed. 

3. Environment:

Most rabbits do not live in suitable conditions, so a discussion was had on how much work has been done to educate about rabbit welfare and behaviour, and how difficult it has been to remove types of accommodation from the market. 

4. Diet and Obesity:

It is a complex and multifactorial problem that we are confronted with every day as veterinarians and is of global importance. There is no easy solution to this problem, we must be supportive and positive about the situation. Dr Alex German explains how we can tackle it and gives us a broader picture of the problem. Dr Richard explains the situation with rabbit food.  

5. Stress and Behaviour

Dr Sarah Heath talks about problems pets encounter relating to separation and the behaviour changes it causes in different pets using data presented in the report. She also explains how we can relate it to anxiety, fear, stress and just a lack of understanding.  

6. Companionship:

Discussions were held on social tension in multi-cat households, the behaviours that these pets acquire and how to manage them. The importance of rabbits having company and their social behaviour was also discussed. 

7. Healthcare:

The use of microchips, vaccinations, neutering and preventive health were discussed. 

Throughout the webinar there is a lively discussion and at the end several questions from the audience are answered. The discussion is closed by motivating the veterinary profession to continue fighting for a better future for pets. 

Please leave a comment with your thoughts on this webinar.