If Britain is a nation of animal lovers…
…why are some experts predicting a tsunami of pets facing mental or physical distress?
Announcing a new series of authoritative views and comment on ‘pet and vet’ issues
Dogs dumped. Cats cast out. Animals with advanced anxiety. Or is a golden age about to dawn for companion animals and their owners?
As we come out of lockdown and emerge into an uncertain new world, our pets are facing a potential fork in the road. What does it mean for their physical and mental health – and ours too? And how is the animal care sector faring from a business point of view?
At The View, we’re marking five years of delivering PR and marketing campaigns for pet and veterinary clients
We’ve met some amazing people along the way. A number have kindly given their time to help us produce this thought-provoking series of conversations and interviews around the pet and vet industries. They range from animal charity founders, eminent veterinarians, expert animal behaviourists, market research companies and trade press too. They look back over these strange weeks and months, since Boris told us all to stay at home. And they forecast what the future might hold.
Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you The Long Tail Theories…
These are just a few of the topics we’ll cover:
There’s been an explosion in puppy sales. What will happen to these fluffy bundles when people go back to work, or sadly lose their jobs? Will there be a nation of depressed and anxious ‘home alone’ dogs suffering because they weren’t socialised properly when young? Or a wave of pets turning up at animal shelters seeking new homes?
While separation anxiety is recognised as a risk for animals when owners leave them at home, lockdown has been posing other pressures for pets. Some are receiving too much attention; they can’t get away and have no down time.
We’ll consider new challenges faced by the animal health sector too, for instance lack of inoculations, neutering and routine check-ups during lockdown. These mean serious health issues will have gone undiagnosed and a wealth of welfare concerns will be brewing up.
The pressure on veterinary professionals has also been huge. While many have been furloughed, others have had to run emergency services with vastly reduced teams, increased hours and increased stress.
Telemedicine has been lauded as an exciting extension of the animal health offering, yet, in reality remote consulting is tricky. The animal can’t be examined properly and the owner may struggle to communicate or understand what’s needed. It’s also time consuming and impacts on a practice’s financial bottom line.
Then there are the dogs of the homeless. We discuss how they’ve coped during the pandemic; the tough times they and their owners have endured. This has been especially challenging where councils have been charged with removing rough sleepers from the streets during Covid, but few establishments are set up to accept their dogs too.
The human-animal bond is exceptionally strong here and plays a huge part in supporting mental health for these vulnerable people. One extraordinary charity however has enabled people and their pets to stay together. It’s working to establish dog-friendly, accredited hostels across the UK, with significant success.
The positivity of pets
Despite all this, legions of owners have loved the time at home with their pets. Many have said their daily exercise with their dog is the most enjoyable part of their day. They’re reporting their pets have played a huge role in helping reducing the stress of lockdown and buoying their mental health overall. Care and play with a much-loved pet is something that can bring the whole family together, creating happy memories that will last for years.
The wonder of wildlife
There’s also significant evidence to show that people are waking up to wildlife. They’re noticing birds and birdsong, bees and a legion of other British beasties, sometimes for the first time.
They’re really benefiting from the therapeutic effects they give – and loving spending time in greenery and exercising in the great outdoors – even if it’s just the local park. And parents have been finding new ways to have fun with their children, learning about the different species and how to create environmentally friendly garden habitats to help them thrive.
Anyway, we’ll listen and learn from the pet experts over this series of blogs and doubtless come away with a host of fascinating observations and insights. They can only help us have better relationships with our pets. They’ll doubtless guide our future PR and marketing communications campaigns as well, along with our cherished Believability™ methodology.
Do look out for our inaugural Long Tail Theory blog – out shortly. And do let us have your comments – we’d love to hear what you think!