VETS are hoping a new online tool will help in the fight to reduce the number of pets being put up for adoption.

According to research carried out by Vets4Pets, more than half of pet owners said they would spend more time researching their next pet.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “The results from our survey clearly demonstrate that we’re, on the whole, a nation of animal lovers, however we still face a significant battle to reduce the seemingly increasing numbers of pets being put up for adoption.

“When choosing a pet, it’s easy to be influenced by pets on social media, a film or TV show.

“But with so many different pet types and breeds available, each with their own unique care requirements and characteristics, it can mean some pets are bought by owners who aren’t fully prepared for the level of responsibility or care required.

“And once owners realise they’ve not made the right choice, rehoming centres are often the next step, which is why we’ve created an online tool in a bid to help owners make the right choice first time around.”

In 2016, Battersea rehomed around 6,000 animals, an average of seven dogs and nine cats a day, but the centre has recently noticed a spike in certain dog breeds being abandoned.

The most common reasons pets are rehomed include a new job, moving house, splitting with a partner and pregnancy/children.

French Bulldogs and snow dogs, such as Akitas and Huskies, are some of the breeds showing the biggest increase in pets being put up for adoption, with the number of French Bulldogs being brought in to Battersea soaring since 2014.

Dr Stacey continued: “Many people think the likes of Huskies, made famous in programmes such as Game of Thrones, will make ‘lovely pets’.

“But they are independent by nature, need a lot exercise and, although they may look like cuddly teddy bears, they usually don’t enjoy being hugged or fussed over.

“This had led to these breeds acquiring a reputation for being problematic and difficult, but these are actually just common breed traits that potential owners need to be aware of.

“And French Bulldogs are often portrayed as being cute in the arms of celebrities, but they can face inherited health problems which require a higher level of care than many owners anticipate.”

To help owners find their perfect pet, Vets4Pets have suggested four key areas for potential pet owners to consider before bringing a pet home.

Dr Stacey said: “Every pet requires time, money, a suitable living environment and diet, and needs to fit in perfectly with their owner’s lifestyle.

“This includes necessary aspects of responsible pet ownership, such as training, exercise, grooming, feeding and cleaning.

“Reptiles or an independent cat might be happy to be left alone for most of the day, but a dog or a more sociable cat needs company or they will become bored and frustrated.

“Few people realise that getting a pet is actually the cheapest part of owning one. Most pets will cost a significant amount of money over their lifetime, from food and toys, to insurance and veterinary care.

“Owning a pet is a huge responsibility, which is why we highly recommend doing plenty of research before choosing your next pet, whether that’s through the internet, books or speaking to a vet.”

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