Half of vets in the UK have reported a rise in the number of clients concerned about their dogs’ increasingly aggressive behaviour over the last 12 months.
A survey of the veterinary profession found that vets are often unsure about the exact age of the dogs involved, however, in cases where the age was known, 87% of dogs were believed to be under three years of age, highlighting the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on puppies bought over lockdown.
Almost one-in-four (24%) vets also reported an increase in the number of pets they had treated in the last 12 months, who were injured as a result of aggressive behaviour by dogs.
It is estimated that around 3.2 million households in the UK acquired a pet in the first year of the pandemic, with the proportion of people owning a dog increasing when compared to early 2020.
British Veterinary Association’s senior vice president Justine Shotton said that pandemic puppy owners were more likely to be first-time dog owners, were less likely to seek out a breeder that performed health testing on their breeding dog(s), or view their puppy in-person.
Ms Shotton said: “Whilst these new statistics are extremely worrying, they are not unexpected. Vets and animal charities have been raising concerns around the long-term impacts of the pandemic puppy boom, when owners were unable to access adequate training and socialisation opportunities that are so important for development in the first few months of their lives.
“The BVA urges pet owners who are concerned about their dog’s behaviour to talk to a vet, who will be able to check for any underlying medical issues that could be causing issues, give advice and refer to an ABTC-accredited veterinary behaviourist. Don’t delay seeking help, as poor behaviour can deteriorate and can become harder to deal with as a dog matures.”