Crufts special: Vets’ top six priorities for happy, healthy dogs

06 March 2015

BVA members have identified six priority areas for dogs' health and welfare

A survey carried out by the British Veterinary Association has identified the top six factors that vets believe would impact dogs' health and welfare. The British Veterinary Association is today releasing these figures to coincide with Crufts, taking place between 5 – 8 March 2015 at the NEC in Birmingham.

BVA's second Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey ran from 17 September to 9 October 2014. 752 vets completed the survey.

448 small animal and mixed practice vets were asked “Thinking about the dogs that you see and treat, what impact would the following have on their health and welfare?”

  1. 95% felt better weight control would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
  2. 88% felt that providing more exercise would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
  3. 82% felt that better early socialisation would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
  4. 75% felt better selective breeding for improved conformation would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare
  5. 64% felt a change of diet would significantly impact on canine health and welfare
  6. 43% felt that more screening for inherited conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye problems would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare

Other factors mentioned which vets felt could have an impact on canine health and welfare include:

  • Better owner understanding of canine behaviour, handling and training
  • Better owner education prior to obtaining a pet regarding the time and cost of keeping a pet and lifestyle considerations
  • Better dental care
  • More regular antiparasitic treatments

John Blackwell, British Veterinary Association President, commented:”

“Vets who regularly see dogs in their practices are aware of a number of issues that impact pets' health and welfare, ranging from weight problems to poor socialisation and the subsequent behavioural problems this can lead to.

“As vets, we want to work with owners to improve the health and welfare of their pet and we are more than happy to give advice and guidance. From help on selecting the right diet and quantity of food for your dog to advice about training and behaviour, owners should talk to their vet to get sound advice and to be confident they are doing the best they can for the animal's health and welfare.

“With the spotlight on dogs with Crufts, the BVA would encourage anyone thinking of getting a dog to do their homework carefully first.”

“The BVA and Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes help breeders to make informed decisions when selecting dogs for breeding, and thus help reduce the risk and incidence of disease. It's also worth remembering that it's not just pedigree dogs that can inherit disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia or hereditary eye disease. There is a misconception that crossbred dogs are protected from hereditary problems but that's not the case. Anyone thinking of breeding from their dog or thinking about buying a puppy should ask their vet about health screening and how it can be used to inform their decisions”

“Whether a potential owner is opting for a pedigree or crossbred puppy, BVA supports the use of the Animal Welfare Foundation/RSPCA Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack, which contains a section for the breeder to fill out about any health screening or DNA tests and results to give added reassurance to owners. In addition, for Kennel Club registered breeds, the Assured Breeder Scheme requires certain breed-specific health tests as part of registering puppies from Assured Breeders.”

Further information

BVA's Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey draws together a panel of over 1,000 BVA members broadly representative of the wider BVA membership who are surveyed on a semi-regular basis. The Voice of the Veterinary Profession captures the profession's views and experiences by asking questions about animal health and welfare, public health, and trends in the veterinary profession. The surveys are carried out by the independent research company, Alpha Research.

>The BVA and the Kennel Club (KC) work in partnership to provide a number of health screening programmes - the Canine Health Schemes. The Canine Health Schemes enable breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases so they can make informed decisions as to whether those dogs should be included in breeding programmes. You can order Scheme literature using the order form or by contacting the CHS team using the details below. For further information contact the Canine Health Schemes Department on 020 7908 6380 or chs@bva.co.uk

Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack

The Assured Breeders Scheme.

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