New research has revealed that 91% of Brits say pets have a positive impact on children and over half believe pet owners are more responsible citizens. What's more, seven out of ten surveyed believe that pet ownership makes you more intuitive to the needs of others, whilst almost two thirds (62%) say pet owners are more caring. And yet, additional research showed that, as a nation, we don't give our faithful companions the due care and attention they deserve.
Research released by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) to mark the launch of the Pet Health Information website (www.pethealthinfo.org.uk), illustrates a shocking lack of awareness of pet health issues, such as worming and vaccination, amongst some pet owners.
Pet owners fall into two categories - those who are 'preventers' and those who are 'non-preventers'. Whilst both camps agreed that responsible pet ownership equaled love and attention resulting in caring, feeding and exercising their pets, disease prevention was often not seen as part of this love with only 55% of dogs and 46% of cats over two years of age being vaccinated against potentially fatal diseases.
'Preventers' make a conscious effort to ensure their pet is protected from a wide range of problems with 96% regarding worming as a regular part of pet health care, whereas 'non-preventers' are more likely not to worm their pet because they see no reason to do so, with over a quarter (28%) not deeming it to be necessary.
Alarmingly, the research also showed that the two out of five owners who sleep with their pets - with the pet in the bedroom, on the bed, or even in the bed itself - despite their close proximity with their pets, are no more likely than other owners to practice preventative health care such as worming or flea control.
The latest research went on to illustrate the significant benefits and rewards of pet ownership with 78% quoting companionship as the most rewarding aspect in the survey undertaken by Opinion Matters1. Moreover, over half of people (58%) went on to admit that their pet cheers them up and just under a third (32%) revealed that their pet does wonders for their sense of humour.
Whilst the facts speak for themselves, many owners still firmly believe that they know all they need to know about pet health care and do not actively seek information.
Phil Sketchley, NOAH chief executive, comments: "Despite being a nation of animal lovers, this research clearly shows there is a need to further educate existing and potential pet owners and to raise awareness of responsible pet care and ownership. Taking the findings of the research into consideration, we are hoping that www.pethealthinfo.org.uk will provide information and advice on a variety of pet related issues."
For more information on individual species ranging from dogs through to fish, log on to www.pethealthinfo.org.uk
Notes to editors:
1) Research carried out by Opinion Matters from 29th May to 2nd June 2008 surveying over 1,300 people.
2) Research carried out by Cognition Market Intelligence in June 2007 surveying over 1,024 pet owners.
The Pet Health Information website features a wealth of animal health information and advice to help owners and potential owners to make informed decisions about their pet's healthcare. With a wide range of topics including information on buying a pet, health guides, travelling abroad with your pet and first aid, the site features information on a range of species from dogs through to fish.
The Pet Health Information website is a National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) initiative to help raise awareness of safe, effective and preventative healthcare for pets.
NOAH represents the UK animal medicines industry. Its aims are to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality medicines for the health and welfare of all animals. www.noah.co.uk
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