Instagram partially blamed for animal welfare crisis
Animal welfare charity, the PDSA, have warned that the popular photo sharing site, Instagram, may be fuelling an animal welfare crisis in the UK, with many buyers solely relying on the site when deciding on which dog breed to purchase.
A YouGov survey of more than 4,600 owners said around a quarter of dog owners did no research into their dog or its breed before purchasing.
With the rise of popular ‘designer’ breeds being so prevalent among celebrities and on social media, many owners failing to properly research a dog breed are left unaware of the many complex health needs that certain breeds require. This has lead to the ‘needless suffering’ of millions of animals, according to the PDSA.
Surge in Popularity
Relying on the portrayal of a certain breed on social media and films can often lead to impulse buying, with little to no research into how to responsibly buy and then care for their dog. Some of the breeds that have been affected by their surge in popularity, are the French Bulldog and Pug, with many owners taking them on without realising the potential health problems that can arise due to the shape of their faces.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan commented: “Most of us wouldn’t dream of buying a new car or booking a holiday without researching all of the options and the costs involved, but too often, little thought is going into the time, commitment and money involved in raising a happy and healthy pet throughout their lifetime.”
PDSA PAW Report
The PDSA 2018 PAW report found that 24% of UK pet owners (5.2 million people) did no research at all before purchasing their pet, with a shocking 16% (3.4 million people) saying they would consider buying a dog from a puppy farm.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 lists 5 basic welfare needs: health, diet, behaviour, environment and companionship. The report highlighted that although 75% of owners believed they knew their pets’ five basic needs, only 13% could identify them.
Whilst there will always be dog breeds that are more popular than others and buyers wishing to purchase a particular breed for a variety of valid reasons, it is important to continue to educate potential buyers about the pros and cons of each breed, ensuring thorough research has been undertaken into the potential health problems many breeds are more susceptible to. We all love the cute #puppiesofinstagram and #dogsofinstagram pictures, but they shouldn’t be the basis of a lifelong commitment.