Shocking figures from vets have revealed that 98 percent of healthy animals are put down because their owners have not socialised their pets properly.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) lifted the lid on the most common reasons for a pet owner to get their animal put down. More than half of vets dealing with pet owners (53 percent) said it was not uncommon for a pet owner to ask them to euthanise a healthy pet because of its behaviour.
This can include persistent barking and howling, destructive chewing and inappropriate toileting. Aggressive behaviour, towards both people and other pets, is also a problem, with the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report revealing that a third of pet owners have been attacked or bitten by a dog. Such behaviours can cause a breakdown of the human-animal bond, leading to pets being excluded from family life to the detriment of their welfare, relinquished to rehoming centres or euthanised.
The figures, obtained during BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which polled over 700 vets across the UK, also highlight the burden that is placed on vets every day when they are faced with euthanising healthy animals.
The BVA says that these figures overwhelmingly show the importance of adequate socialisation of animals at an early age. Young animals should safely encounter a variety of people, animals and everyday household sights and sounds in their first few weeks and months of age, beginning at the place where they are born. Many veterinary practices now offer puppy socialisation classes to help with this.
BVA President Sean Wensley said: “These figures are stark and are likely to come as a shock to members of the public. But this is the sad reality of a failure to socialise animals from the earliest possible age – a specific time in a puppy’s development which has a significant impact on their future temperament and behaviour. With dogs, this process starts from before a puppy. In recent months there has been a litany of news stories about the illegal importation, breeding and trading of puppies through puppy farms. This is no way for a family pet to start life and we urge potential owners to thoroughly research where a puppy has been born and reared, using the AWF/RSPCA Puppy contract to help.
“In the first year of ownership, and especially in the first few weeks work with your local veterinary practice to ensure your puppy is introduced to everyday sights and sounds, including other people and animals, in a safe and structured way.”