5 Freedoms Of Animal Welfare

Guest Blog by Leeann Bentley – Digs for Dogs Franchise Owner, Bredbury

Are you aware of the Animal Welfare Act 2006?

I must admit I wasn’t fully aware myself, until I started studying my diploma in Canine Care, Welfare and Behaviour! Now, I think that is it necessary to educate owners/potential owners, and even reach out to schools to teach children of all ages about the five freedoms that all animals are entitled to…

1. Freedom to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
2. Freedom to live in a suitable environment, protected by shelter
3. Freedom from hunger, to have a suitable diet
4. Freedom to be housed with or apart from other animals
5. Freedom to be able to exhibit normal behaviours


The majority of dogs are registered with a vet, but for the small percentage that aren’t the owners think that it’s not necessary. This demonstrates a lack of understanding about preventative healthcare – the vet isn’t just there if the dog becomes ill or injured. Further education is needed to advise owners of the benefits of neutering, vaccinations, treatments for flea and worming along with microchipping etc.

Daily exercise is a vital part of a dog’s physical health and mental wellbeing. There are a number of reasons that owners choose not to walk their dog:-

  • They think the garden is big enough for exercise
  • The owner has a health problem
  • The dog has a health problem
  • Restricted areas where they live to exercise their dog
  • Time restrictions – the owner is too busy
  • Fear of being attacked by another dog
  • Concerned about the behaviour of their own dog while out
  • Poor recall – the dog has never received any training

Pet obesity continues to be one of the biggest key welfare issues in the UK. More help is needed for the owners to understand what a healthy body shape is for their breed of dog. More focus needs to be on preventing it rather than treating it.

Common weight related issues are:-

1. Musculoskeletal Problems
2. Respiratory Problems
3. Diabetes

A lot of owners fail to recognise that their pet is overweight. They feed them treats in addition to their daily food amount, they feed them human food alongside their own diet and portion size. A dog should be fed in accordance to it’s age, weight and activity level.

I think more needs to be done to promote the five freedoms and there are opportunities for further education and communication. Communication based on empathy, values and in a positive manner is likely to have a bigger impact.

Lack of research prior to getting a pet will have an impact on their future wellbeing as owners are unaware of how to provide for their chosen pets needs.

This seems to be the least well recognised welfare need. Dogs are highly social animals and a lot of dogs are left alone for 5 hours or more on weekdays, this is more than the recommended 4 hours. Dogs that spend so much time alone could be bored and under stimulated and this has a negative effect on a dog’s wellbeing and trigger behaviour issues. Separation Anxiety is a common behaviour in dogs, especially after this year, with us being home a lot more. Some dogs show signs of distress by scratching and being destructive, barking, howling and toileting in the house are some of the common behaviours.

A lack of training will contribute to a dog showing unwanted behaviours. Without adequate training or socialisation, it can be hard for a dog to know how to behave in certain situations. Engaging in training will lead to a better bond with your dog and you both being happier and more relaxed.

Top 5 behaviours that owners want to change:

  • Pulling on the lead
  • Jumping up at People
  • Aggression towards other pets
  • Aggression towards other people
  • Theirs dogs being afraid of fireworks

Does your dog need more exercise? Or some socialisation?

Reconnect your pooches. Socialise your pups. Give them a good run around with their pals!

It’s so important to keep your dog social at this time, to prevent any issues when the world eventually returns to normal.

Each of our Pet Services is tailored to our customers’ individual needs, so if you have any specific requests or if your pet requires additional attention or medication our trustworthy, professional Dog Walkers are here to help!

Contact us today for more information: 01204 895 355

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