mental health affects one third of pets

Survey shows mental health affects one third of pets in UK

A recent survey has reveled that one third of the UK’s pets suffer from a mental health issue.

The survey by Telford-based pet products and manufacturer, Rosewood Pet Products found that anxiety, stress and depression is also affecting our pets, with cats and dogs being the most likely pets affected.

Rosewood Pet Products surveyed the nation’s pet parents and of those who revealed that their pets do suffer from a mental health disorder, dogs were the most anxious pets (65%), compared to cats (41%).

However, cats appeared to be the most stressed, with 27% showing obvious signs, compared to 21% of dogs. But some dog owners said that they suspect their pet’s stress and anxiety are side effects of other conditions.

Many pet owners suspected that their dog or cats anxiety was made worse when their pets are away from their owners. It wasn’t just cats and dogs who showed signs of stress, or even aggressive behaviour, 15% of small animal owners revealed that their pets also show signs of stress and/or aggression.

Rosie Barclay, Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist, said: “Pets get stressed just like we do, often or similar reasons, and may need help with their mental health. They may feel frightened of things they don’t understand, frustrated that they can’t get the things they need or expect or maybe feel as though something valued is being take away. It could even be that they’re feeling ill, in pain of just simply having a bad day.”

Many pets will often behave differently when they are feeling distressed, for example, they may hide away and look subdued; act aggressively; toilet in inappropriate areas; cry, whine or vocalise more; scratch and destroy items around the house; and they may stop playing or even eating.

Respondents of the survey also revealed that their cat or dog had been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or aggression issues and separation anxiety.

Bev Panter, Marketing Director at Rosewood, added: “These survey stats demonstrate a real need for pet parents to be aware of any symptoms or changes in their pets behaviour that may indicate that there is a serious underlying problem. The reality is mental health affects our pets too, but perhaps this fact does not benefit from a high level of awareness, particularly as our pets don’t have a voice to express themselves as we do.”