Study reveals 10 million pets suffer mental or physical stress

We Brits are a self-proclaimed nation of animal lovers and the majority would like to think they look after their pets properly. But a YouGov survey commissioned by animal charity the PDSA has revealed that at least 10 million pets in the UK suffer some kind of mental or physical stress.

10 million pets suffering stress
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The poll is the first to measure the health of Britain's 12 million cats, eight million dogs and 1.7 million rabbits. It found at least three million cats had never been vaccinated, two million dogs are left alone for longer each day than is recommended and 750,000 rabbits are under-fed.

More than half the nation's cat owners confessed that their feline was fat while 60 per cent did not regularly check for fleas. Meanwhile 2.4 million British dogs were fed largely on scraps or leftover, instead of a nutritionally balanced dog food... which may explain why one in three are overweight.

And, though vets recommend leaving your pooch for just four hours at a time, 1.9 million were left for longer with 15 per cent of owners believing eight hours alone was fine and four per cent insisting that their hound would not suffer if left for more than 10 hours.

Rabbits too were being neglected, whether intentionally or not - these sociable animals live in large groups in the wild, yet 67 per cent of pets live alone, causing stress and boredom. And 750,000 bunnies received too little hay or grass during the day.

A spokesman for the PDSA told the Daily Mail: "It is not intentional - we know that owners love their pets. But many misunderstand what their pets need."

The charity is recommending that owners take their pets for an urgent "health and welfare MOT" to ensure that the nation's cats, dogs and rabbits are in tip top condition.

What do you think? Do too many pet owners rush into buying an animal without knowing how to care for it properly? Leave your comments in the box below...