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Posted: 12th September 2022

Half of pet owners would seek behaviour advice online, survey finds
The survey found that around half of all pet owners would search for animal behaviour advice online.
New research from Blue Cross comes as the charity marks its 125th anniversary.

Around half of all pet owners (48%) would search for animal behaviour advice online to help with their pet’s behaviour, a Blue Cross survey has found.

Some 80 per cent of people said they would contact their vet for advice if they were experiencing challenging behaviour with their pet, according to the responses from some 100,000 people.

A quarter said they would initially seek help from a qualified behaviourist. 

The Blue Cross said that it is concerned that some pet owners may be following outdated or inappropriate behaviour advice rather than finding a reliable source".

Blue Cross animal behaviourist Claire Stallard commented: “It’s understandable so many people say they would search online for behaviour advice but owners may not know what is good advice or what is poor or outdated advice and training techniques which could potentially make matters worse for them and their pet.

“The relationship between a pet and owner can sadly break down if the wrong advice is followed, which can result in further behavioural problems. We’d always urge people to seek the advice of their vet, a qualified behaviourist or trainer if they’re experiencing any issues with their pet’s behaviour.”

The Blue Cross Big Pet Census was launched to mark the charity’s 125th anniversary this year and is the largest ever survey of pet owners and their four-legged friends. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it confirms that the UK is a nation of pet lovers, with the majority of respondents (95%) saying they consider their pet as part of the family. Companionship and mental wellbeing were cited as the top benefits of having a pet.

Of more concern, however, is the finding that 17 per cent of new owners did not meet the pet before their purchase and almost a quarter (24 %) said they would buy a pet through an online advert. 

Blue Cross has long raised issues about the un-regulation of online pet sales, and unscrupulous breeders selling underage, ill and unsocialised puppies and kittens. 

“We would urge anyone looking to take on a pet to really do their research first to ensure they know the animal’s needs before taking them on and if buying through an online advert to be thorough in checking the breeder is genuine and reputable,” Claire continued. 

“Overall, we’re delighted to see from the survey that the vast majority of pet owners are experiencing the unique bond and companionship that only pets can give us.”

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