We may be a nation of animal lovers but a recent survey has found that the behaviour of our four-legged friends is a cause for concern and may even be ruling our lives.

Of the 1,000 pet owners who were questioned, just over three quarters (77 per cent) admitted their pet behaves in a way they wish they didn’t, and 36 per cent were worried about their pet’s behaviour.

Over half of owners (52 per cent) felt their behaviour was due to their pet purely misbehaving. Sympathetically, 48 per cent put it down to their pet’s fear and anxiety.

Change of plans

This naughty behaviour can often affect the owner’s life. Over three quarters (77 per cent) admitted they frequently change their plans to accommodate their pet’s bad behaviour

Owning a dog also has a huge influence on our holiday plans, with 97 per cent of dog owners basing their bookings on dog-friendly destinations, and 82 per cent paying more for a holiday so they can take their dog with them.

Coping methods

The poll, commissioned by Ceva Animal Health, also revealed that 44 per cent turn to Google to find a vet to deal with their pet behavioural problems but only nine per cent turn to a pet behaviourist for advice. Many owners try to calm their pets themselves, with 42 per cent using stroking techniques to calm their pet down. 

Andrew Fullerton, Technical Manager for Behaviour at Ceva Animal Health, said, “The UK’s love affair with cats and dogs is clearly stronger than ever with more and more pets becoming integrated into family life.

These results are very interesting and show a level of education is still needed in assessing, interpreting and understanding our pet’s behaviour and looking at solutions and products such as pheromone based sprays, diffusers and collars, that can help handle stressful situations and prevent unwanted behaviour.”

Some behaviours can lead to destruction in the home, and just less than half (47 per cent) confirmed that items in their home had been ruined by pets. A quarter of those surveyed said damage to their home cost them in excess of £300. Five per cent said the cost to repair the damage was in excess of £1,000. 

Animal Behaviourist and owner of Pet Behaviour Therapy, Ellena Hinson said, “Many of the behaviours we see in our pets are normal behaviours that serve a function.

Some of these behaviours aren’t always appreciated in our homes. Destruction for example, dogs jumping up at guests, or urine spraying in cats.

“Stress from fear, anxiety, pain or frustration are all normal too, just as they are in humans. However, this stress can manifest in many different behaviours which can then present a problem for the owners.”

For more information on pet behaviour, visit the Adaptil and Feliway® websites. 


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