Research published by More Th>n insurers yesterday of a survey of 1,000 pet owners has revealed horrific results.
1.4 million owners admitted to (illegally) administering potentially toxic human medicines to cats and dogs. As the Royal Veterinary College state “It is illegal, in terms of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, for non-veterinary surgeons, however qualified in the human field, to treat animals.” More than one third of those surveyed were trying to avoid paying veterinary fees. Medications administered without veterinary dierction included anti-histamines (36%), paracetamol (28%), antiseptic creams, ibuprofen (17%) and aspirin (14%) for complaints ranging from injured paws to cuts and stings. 21% decided that the injury or ailment did not warrant a trip to the vets, 33% decided that their pet was suffering and needed immediate pain relief and 27% stated that they believed that over the counter human medications are safe to self-administer to pets.
As if that weren’t bad enough, 5% of the owners surveyed (that’s at least 50 animals) had been forced to consume protein shakes and bars, diet pills, vitamins or exercise supplements. 21% of owners said that they wanted to improved their pet’s fitness and stamina,
40% were aiming for rapid weight loss and 35% believed that it would make their pet more healthy. 6% of those owners confessed that they did it “so my pet would look more impressive in public”. Yes, really.
Should we just write these people off as misguided or should we consider prosecution?
Owning a pet is a responsibility and, unless we use existing legislation to combat the actions of people who take their obligations lightly, dogs will consider to suffer.