dog research walking with dog

Dog Owner Research

One of the main pharamceutical companies we deal with , MSD, sent us the results of some research they did into pet owner behaviour with their pets and what they have found ON their pets.

The team at Ark Vet found some of the information fascinating! 33% of owners dance with their dogs!!!!!  80% of pet owners say Hello to their dogs — I’ve no choice because my dog Lexie is always the first to greet me when I get home. And my favourite one — 34% of owners talk to their dog about the weather! Now that I do!!! “Lexie its lashing rain. Will we curl up on the couch instead of a walk?” “Lexie its a great day. The sun is shining. Where will we go thats nice on a sunny day?”

Here’s the results below….

Ciara Reid Vet Manager

Dog Owners urged to ‘Pawse and Protect’ their pets

  • Research reveals gaps in parasite protection amongst Irish Dog Owners
  • 63% allow dog to lie on sofa, whilst 37% allow dog to sleep on their bed
  • 80% say hello to their dog when they come home, and 33% dance with their dog
  • Two thirds admitted to sometimes or often forgetting to give flea and tick treatment
  • 1 in 3 has found a tick on their dog
  • Nearly two thirds weren’t aware that over 95% of a flea infestation is in the home, with only 5% of the problem visible on the affected pet
  • On average dog-owners treat their pets 3.4 times per year – expert guidance is for year-round treatment

Research commissioned by leading animal health specialists MSD Animal Health has revealed that Irish dog owners like to get ‘up close and personal’ with their pets, but they also risk getting too close to parasites as many are not grasping the need for year-round treatment against fleas and ticks. MSD is now calling on dog owners to ‘Pawse and Protect’ their pets as well as their families as part of its Parasite Awareness campaign.

The Ireland wide research surveyed 540 dog owners about their behaviour with their pets as well as their awareness, attitudes and actions around flea and tick treatment. The findings show that many dogs are treated as one of the family, with 63% saying that their dog often lies on the sofa at home, and 37% said their dog sleeps on their bed. 80% say hello to their dog when they come home, and a third said that they often danced with their dog. 40% of dog owners let their dog lick their face, while 44% said they wouldn’t routinely wash their hands after petting their dog.

The majority of those surveyed (62%) weren’t aware that 95% of a flea infestation (flea eggs, larvae and pupae) is in the home, with only 5% (the adult fleas) visible on the affected pet. This knowledge made 54% more likely to embrace more regular action to prevent a flea infestation.  First-hand experience of fleas and ticks was common amongst those surveyed – one in three said they had previously found a tick on their dog, whilst one in five owners reported seeing a flea on their dog in the last year. The relatively high proportion of owners who reported seeing ticks is of concern, as these blood-sucking parasites can transmit diseases, such as Lyme Disease. A worrying 38% of people said that they waited until they saw their dog scratching before treating, rather than taking preventative action. This is a particular issue with regard to fleas, as it can months to get rid of an established flea infestation from the pet and home environment, so prevention is much better than treatment.

Kevin Whelan, Marketing Manager from MSD Animal Health commented on the findings, saying “Whenever we share so much with our pets, it is imperative that we understand the risks associated with fleas and ticks and how they can impact on our home and family. Pet fleas can also bite humans, ticks can transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme Disease, to both dogs and people, and some dog worms can also affect people, so failing to protect your dog is putting our pets and ourselves at risk.”

Whilst the dog-owners surveyed generally had a good awareness of the need to protect their animals against fleas and ticks, almost two thirds admitted to sometimes or often forgetting to give treatment. Over half of respondents (58%) said that they didn’t receive a regular reminder from their vet about flea treatment, but over 50% also said that they would be more likely to treat if prompted by a reminder service. More than two thirds of those interviewed said they would prefer to give a long-lasting (12 week) flea and tick treatment with a separate worming tablet rather than giving a flea and tick treatment every month.

Kevin continued, “We recommend that pet owners ask their vet for advice on longer lasting treatment options against common parasites, as this means that your pet will be protected for longer and it’s one less thing to think about. You can also ask your vet about signing up to a regular reminder service.  Whenever many pets are frequently sleeping on sofas and beds in the home the need to protect against fleas and ticks on an ongoing basis is evident. If dog-owners are better informed about the risks of contamination in the home, and aware of the need for year-round protection, and in receipt of regular reminders, then they will be more likely to act and protect their pets, their home and their families from these unwelcome visitors,” Kevin concluded.

Main Findings of the Research Include:

  • 80% say hello to their dog when they come home, 33% dance with their dog
  • 63% said that their dog often lies on their sofa, whilst 37% said the dog sometimes slept on their bed.
  • 55% routinely wash their hands after petting their dog
  • 40% let their dog lick their face
  • 78% of those surveyed had heard of Lyme disease, but only 37% knew that Lyme disease can affect dogs
  • On average people are treating their dogs 3.4 times per year, and not following expert recommendations on year-round treatment.
  • Two thirds would prefer to give a long-lasting (12 week) flea and tick treatment with a separate worming tablet
  • 62% of dog owners did not know that 95% of a flea infestation (flea eggs, larvae and pupae) is in the home. Only 5% is visible on the affected pet. This knowledge made 54% more likely to embrace more regular treatment to prevent a flea infestation
  • 65% of people admitted to sometimes or often forgetting to give flea treatment
  • 38% (most people) waited until they see their dog scratching before administering flea treatment
  • 1 in 5 had noticed fleas on their pet within the last year
  • 1 in 3 has found a tick on their dog
  • 53% of those surveyed didn’t know that some dog worms can affect people, and only 28% treat their pet four or more times a year in line with expert recommendations2
  • Only 37% of respondents were aware that Lyme disease affects dogs
  • The average no of times per year that respondents treated their pet against ticks and fleas was 3.4
  • The average no of times per year that respondents treated their pet against worms was 3.2
  • One in three dog owners also owns a cat