Over 63,000 pet owners, vets, vet nurses and children surveyed. 51% of UK households own a pet.

Millions of pets suffering in silence. 5 animal welfare needs.

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 first PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report in 2011, there was no overarching means of identifying, assessing, monitoring and improving the wellbeing of companion animals. The (PAW) Report is the first step towards this and remains the largest survey of its kind in conjunction with leading research agency YouGov.

PDSA has found that UK pet owners are failing to meet the health and welfare needs of over millions of cats, dogs and rabbits. Whilst there have been some changes in recent years such as better diets for rabbits and increasing levels of preventive care, the state of our pet nation’s health and wellbeing could still be greatly improved.

As the UK’s leading veterinary charity we want to identify welfare issues and do all we can to improve the physical health and mental wellbeing of pets.

Why has PDSA produced this Report?

The purpose of the PAW Report is to provide an in depth analysis of current welfare issues and pet wellbeing in the UK. This means each year PDSA can reflect on how healthy and happy pets are.

The PAW Report is based on the five welfare needs of companion animals as detailed in the Animal Welfare Acts. 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. This year we have delved deeper into the demographics of pet owners so we can target initiatives and help those most in need to improve the welfare of their pets.

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 seven 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, and despite the affection owners have for their companion animals, we are still failing to meet our pets’ welfare needs.

So many problems 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 identify and raise awareness of the main issues faced by pets in society today. This shapes our pet health and welfare work and ensures our education programs 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.

Our 2017 Report focuses on the key companion animal welfare concerns raised in previous Reports; pre-purchase and pet ownership, obesity, behaviour, companionship and preventive healthcare. The Report also delves deeper into the demographics of pet owners, which species they own, and how successfully they are meeting their pet’s 5 Welfare Needs.

At PDSA our vision is a lifetime of wellbeing for every pet, and we pledge to help educate the nation to prevent the preventable, and continue treating the sick and injured pets of people in need.


Introducing the PAW Report 2017

By taking an annual sounding on the welfare of the UK’s cats, dogs and rabbits, the PAW Report helps to provide a vital framework via which we can better understand where that partnership between animal owners and the veterinary profession can be improved.

Recent PDSA initiatives, such as the PetWise MOT, which provides a structure for veterinary consultations around the five animal welfare needs, have developed out of previous PAW Reports. I commend PDSA for really utilising the data and insights that they discover. So many research reports end up gathering dust on a shelf, but, now in its seventh year, PAW is one that continues to shape the future of the veterinary-owner relationship, to the great benefit of the UK’s pet population.

Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses advocate for animals’ best interests not only in terms of the pets they see before them each day, but also at a local, national and even global level. Our recent Vet Futures project, carried out jointly with the British Veterinary Association, showed that veterinary surgeons were prepared to really challenge in this area, where they felt that animals were at risk, and the PAW Report provides useful data in terms of where that focus might lie.

DR. Chris Tufnell,
BVMS MRCVS
RCVS President

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