Friday, 14 December 2018
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Dogs heading for a mental health crisis with a third of owners saying theirs shows signs of anxiety

Dogs are heading for a mental health crisis with a third of owners saying theirs has shown signs of anxiety.

Though more pampered than ever, 65 per cent of dogs suffered with anxiety, one in five has experienced stress and seven per cent have OCD, research by Rosewood Pet found.

The findings were backed by animal behaviourist and anxiety expert Helen Motteram who says stress will rise until owners become more responsible.

“People aren’t as respectful to dogs as they were,” Helen said. “Parents let their children approach dogs without checking they’re comfortable.

“Disruptive owners let dogs bound up to other dogs on leads and frighten them – this stays with them for life.

“There are animals coming from abroad who find themselves in an alien environment which unsettles them.

Shih Tzu pug cross Alice who was snatched from car boot sale at Chirk Airfield, Wrexham
Signs include lunging, barking, sniffing the ground to avoid confrontation, stopping and staring or fixating

“Dogs spend more time indoors and alone. People don’t meet up with friends for walks and they’re a chore rather than a social engagement. Lots of people have dogs but don’t really have the time for them and this impacts on their emotional wellbeing.”

Signs include lunging, barking, sniffing the ground to avoid confrontation, stopping and staring or fixating.

And Helen says owners should keep their dogs away from those on a lead.

She said: “It’s incredibly rude to let your dog run over and jump all over them. It puts both dogs in danger.

“Many owners just say, ‘Oh, my dog’s friendly or wants to play.’ But the dog could be ill, elderly, recovering from surgery or in training.

“If you can’t call your dog back, you shouldn’t let them off their lead.”

Owner Sarah Beckley Jones got so fed up with telling people to keep their dogs away from her pet Bella she started the yellow My Anxious Dogs range.

“The Yellow Dog Project began in America,” she said. “It’s where owners dress dogs in yellow collars, leads and accessories so others give them space.

“As the owner of an anxious dog I wanted to raise awareness, which led to me making my products in the hope of making life easier for the dogs.”

  • Info: myanxiousdog.co.uk and socialpawscheltenham.co.uk

Source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dogs-heading-mental-health-crisis-13525296

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