The RSPCA is urging owners to understand the importance of their pets’ mental well-being following an increase in the number of pet owners since the start of the pandemic.
Last year the charity welcomed 1,136 animals to Kent and now emphasizes the importance of understanding the behavior and body language of our Adoptober pet.
Adopt, is a time when the RSPCA urges people to adopt, not buy, and shines a light on rescue animals looking for forever homes.
The past year has seen a huge increase in the number of pet owners and the RSPCA has rehoused 28,740 pets throughout 2020.
With the increase in the number of pets in the UK, it is now more important than ever for people to make sure they understand how their pets are feeling in order to keep them happy and healthy. .
Dr Sam Gaines, of the charity, said: ‘There has been a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic and although it is great to see so many pets becoming a real one. A source of solace over the past year, it is important that we remember that our health can impact that of our pets and we need to make sure that we consider their mental health and how they are doing. feel.
“From changes in behavior to their body language, our pets can give us insight into their mental well-being and it is important that as pet owners we know how to spot these signs and act on them.”
As dog owners return to their offices, the charity is concerned that some dogs may find it difficult to adjust to being left alone.
One of the main reasons dogs are abandoned is due to behavioral issues and research suggests that 85% of dogs can be affected by behaviors related to separation.
That’s why it’s important to be able to spot the signs if your dog is upset.
If your dog is unhappy or worried, you may notice that he is standing upright, but his body posture and head position will be lowered.
Their tail can also be tucked under their body and their ears will be back, the dog will also be yawning.
If your dog is lying down and avoids eye contact or turns his head away from you and licks his lips with his ears back, that also means he is anxious.
A standing dog with a stiffened body posture, forward weight, raised ears, raised hair, and eyes staring at you with dark, widened pupils is also unhappy.
If a dog is lying down and curled up with flat ears and teeth showing with the tail between the legs, it shows that he is anxious.
However, if your dog is happy, you will notice a whole different set of behaviors.
Your dog will have a relaxed body posture, smooth hair, an open mouth and ears in a natural position and of course a wagging tail.
A happy dog will invite you to play with their buttocks raised and their tail wagging high, their eyes will have a normal shape, and they may also bark excitedly.
Most cats enjoy routine, and a disruption in that routine, such as returning to work and being away from home, can leave a feeling of stress or anxiety.
Fighting for resources with other cats, a change in their food or litter, a move or a new pet, are all factors that could cause your cat to become in distress.
A cat’s body language is much more subtle and therefore it is important to observe your cat regularly, to understand what is normal behavior for him and when that behavior may be different so that you know how he is feeling.
If your cat is unhappy or worried, you may notice him in a squatting position, muscles tense, body held tight, tail sunk into his body, and ears tilted slightly to the side.
A cat that has its head slightly down and tucked into its body with its pupils dilated can also be unhappy.
If your cat is lying down, his body flattened, ears flat on his head and pulled back, his body tilted slightly to the side, his pupils dilated, his mouth open and outstretched, and his teeth exposed, it also means that he is stressed.
A standing cat, with its back arched and hair raised, also shows that it is anxious.
However, if your cat is happy, he will be held with a relaxed body posture, his ears in a natural position, his tail erect with the tip curved, and his mouth closed.
If a cat is lying down with an exposed stomach, relaxed body posture, lying down, and eyes partially closed, it also means that it is comfortable.
Rabbits can often be a misunderstood pet because people assume they are easy to care for.
Rabbits are complex and social animals that can become anxious when they don’t have another rabbit friend, or the space they need for exercise and a lot of enrichment.
Like cats, their body language can be subtle, so it’s good to know how your rabbits are behaving normally so that you can recognize the changes.
If your rabbit is unhappy or worried, he may be in a squatting position, his muscles tense and his head flat on the ground, ears wide apart and pressed against his back with dilated pupils.
A rabbit will turn around and walk away shaking its hind legs if it is unhappy, its ears can also be held against its back.
Rabbits sitting on their hind legs with their front legs raised displaying boxing behavior are also upset, a rabbit may growl too.
If your rabbit is standing with its body outstretched and its hind legs tapping the ground, tail raised, ears pointed upward and slightly outward, facial muscles tense, and pupils dilated, it means it is stressed.
However, if your rabbit is happy, he will be lying down, with a relaxed body posture and his legs tucked under his body.
If their body is fully extended with their hind legs stretched out behind their body and their front legs pointing forward, it means they are relaxed.
When your bunny jumps in the air with all four legs above the ground and twists in the air before landing, that also means that he is happy, this is called a binky.
Sam added, “This Adoptober, we urge anyone who is considering having a pet to consider adopting rather than purchasing a pet.
“Anyone considering having a pet should do their research and verify that they have the time, money and the lifestyle to care for an animal for their entire life.”
For more information on Adoptober click here or to see which animals need relocation click here.
To help the RSPCA continue to save, rehabilitate and relocate animals in desperate need of care, please visit their website or call the donation line on 0300 123 8181.
To learn more about Kent’s furry, frill and fin friends, click here.
Read more: All the latest news from Kent