Children 'fear' family pets

Nearly two thirds of children have admitted being scared of family pets, according to a new report by veterinary charity PDSA.

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Pet owners 'must take full responsibility'

Each year there are awful stories of dogs attacking pets and people, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Tackling this begins with owners and breeders taking full responsibility for their dogs' behaviour and adequately socialising and training them from a young age.

It is also essential that young people understand how to be safe around all pets and learn how to become caring and responsible owners in the future.

In PDSA's view, this should include learning about a pet's five welfare needs at school as well as from other responsible adults around them.

– PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Sean Wensley


Owners 'are failing pets'

A majority of dogs, at 61%, had not attended training classes within their first six months of life, according to the findings.

The charity say owners are failing pets Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive

The research forms part of the second PDSA animal well-being report which claims obesity, aggression and illness are set to take over the pet population if they are not tackled.

An estimated 18.5 million dogs, cats and rabbits are being fed unsuitable diets and treats in spite of their owners knowing about the health risks, the report said.

The charity warned that an estimated 11.2 million pets are not vaccinated or neutered leaving them at "serious" risk of developing potentially fatal illnesses.

Dogs displaying 'problem behaviour'

Owners who fail to socialise and obedience-train dogs at an early stage are fuelling "frightening" levels of problem behaviour in their pets, according to the report.

Children should be taught at school how to be good owners in the face of research showing "fundamental" gaps in knowledge about animal welfare, the PDSA said.