80% of owners consider their pets’ needs to be as important, if not more important than their families’ needs, yet when it comes to anti-social behaviours like hissing and biting, many owners are unaware that the root cause could be their home, says the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA).
Pets are often made to fit in around our busy lifestyles, in environments designed for us. When their natural behaviours, particularly related to feeding, playing and sleeping are not accommodated, it can lead to aggressive, reclusive or anti-social behaviour.
A survey undertaken by the PFMA reveals that 54% of dog and cat owners feed their pets at human meal times, meaning they are forced to fit in around their owners meal schedule. Furthermore the majority of dogs sleep in owner’s bedrooms which might be the best place for humans, but not necessarily best for pets; particularly dogs, which need a deep, undisturbed sleep.
Many cat owners also don’t realise that cat’s need one litter tray per cat plus one extra for the house which can cause the cats to toilet in inappropriate areas in the home.
Make simple changes in the home environment in order to better accommodate the pet’s natural tendencies. Such improvements can make a big difference to a pet’s behaviour, health and happiness.
In order to showcase this, the PFMA has created pet’s ideal homes as seen through the eyes of dogs, cats and rabbits, the PFMA is helping owners understand how to best accommodate pets by creating the ideal homes, as seen through the eyes of your dog, cat or rabbit. These images which have been designed in collaboration with pet behaviourists can be found on the PFMA website.
Pet behaviourist, Dr Peter Neville said: “Factors in the home affecting sleep, mental stimulation, eating and toileting can have a significant affect on a pet’s mood.
“Unless we try to understand our pets’ needs, it can be difficult to change or encourage better behaviours. Sometimes effortless changes like putting bedding on a high, accessible shelf for your cat to retreat to or providing stimulating puzzle toys for your dog while you are out can make a big difference to the way they behave”, Dr Neville said.
The PFMA Chief Executive, Michael Bellingham said: “It is clear that most pet owners go out of their way to look after their pets’ needs and want to accommodate them to the best of their ability. We have designed our new website as a resource centre for pet owners to access tips, suggestions and animal facts to help them do their best by their animal companions”.
The PFMA urges pet owners to log-on to www.pfma.org.uk to see the house that Mew built and to find out what differences they can make to their pet’s life.