Researched commissioned by NexGard SPECTRA® has found that dog health in the pandemic became a priority for pet owners, with two-thirds (65%) reporting they are more aware of and alert to their dog’s health and happiness as a result of the current focus on preventative healthcare.
Almost all, (98%) agree dog health is their priority while a quarter (25%) of owners said they couldn’t survive lockdown without their dog.
With dogs and owners spending more time together, the research also found that nearly six in 10 (59%) say the companionship of their dog is invaluable to them. In addition, 57% say their dog has helped improve their mental health and 47% say their dog is their best friend. 15% of Aussies have sought the companionship of a new dog or puppy since the pandemic began.
Key findings from the research include:
- Two-thirds (67%) of dog owners agree their dog’s happiness and wellbeing has become more important to them as a result of the pandemic.
- More than six in 10 (64%) dog owners agree their dog’s physical health has become more important to them as a result of the current focus on preventative healthcare.
- Eight in 10 (81%) dog owners agree that sharing ‘moments of fun’ with their dog has become more important to them because of the pandemic.
- More than eight in ten (86%) dog owners agree that walking their dogs has helped them increase the time they spend outdoors.
- Eight in 10 (79%) dog owners who work agree that flexible working arrangements (including reduced commuting times) give them and their dog the ‘best of both worlds’ – time together during their breaks, and more quality time after hours.
- Six in 10 (61%) dog owners agree that when restrictions lift and borders reopen, they will choose a dog-friendly holiday for their next trip.
Pets, people and zooneses
Despite owner focus on dog health, the survey also indicated there is still a lot of education needed on the risk of parasites, for both pets and people. The survey found that 95% of dog owners agree that parasite prevention treatment is important for their dogs but 41% of respondents were not aware of all five main parasite groups that may harm their dog (fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms).
Dr Brooke Schampers, Emergency and Critical Vet at Animal Emergency Service said, “It is great news that almost all dog owners agree that parasite prevention treatment is important for their dogs but it is concerning that a large number of dog owners (four in ten) say they are not aware of all five main parasite groups that can affect dogs. Some of these parasites can also cause disease in people.”
A zoonotic disease, or zoonosis, is a disease that can be shared between animals and humans. Examples of zoonotic infections that people may acquire from dogs include internal parasites such as roundworm and hookworm. External parasites (fleas, ticks and mites) can also cause harm to people.
Two in five (41%) dog owners have heard of the term ‘zoonosis’ (29% in 2020) and 24% understand what it means (18% in 2020). Almost a third (31%) of dog owners are not aware that parasites can cause serious health issues if transmitted from their dog to them or their family.
Whilst seven in 10 (68%) dog owners are aware that administering monthly deworming treatments to dogs reduces the risk of transmission of zoonotic parasites to people, worryingly more than half (53%) of dog owners do not deworm their dog every month even though nine in ten (91%) dog owners would rather pay for an ongoing parasite protection treatment rather than face a large, unexpected vet bill, and nearly seven in ten (69%) had experienced an unexpected vet bill in the past.
If you are one of those 53% of people who are not deworming your dog monthly, find out more about how NexGard SPECTRA® protect your dog and how to reduce the risk of transmission to people, visit nexgard.com.au
Source: YouGov surveyed 1,044 Australian dog owners in July and August 2021.