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Open AccessArticle

Strategies for the Improvement of Pet Health and Welfare in Portugal Based on a Pilot Survey on Husbandry, Opinion, and Information Needs

1
Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) & Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2
O Meu Animal, 4515-463 Porto, Portugal
Animals 2020, 10(5), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050848
Received: 15 April 2020 / Revised: 29 April 2020 / Accepted: 6 May 2020 / Published: 14 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Encountering Animals)
This study examined husbandry practices in companion animals being conducted in Portugal in order to understand the health and welfare issues which can be improved. One of the more important findings is that, despite adopting most pets, pet owners do not adopt from animal shelters, possibly due to the large bureaucratic process. Veterinary practice is viewed as expensive and identification of animals with microchip is frequently disregarded. These issues may result in important threats to animal welfare and health and should be addressed at societal level. Several strategies based on results are proposed to improve pet health and welfare in Portugal, focusing on showcasing the importance of veterinary care, reducing the number of lost or abandoned animals, and improving awareness and education.
Pets are present in half of the homes across Portugal. However, little is known about the husbandry, opinion, and information needs of Portuguese pet owners. Thus, the objective of this work was to clarify this information providing the basis for suggesting potential improvements. Responses were collected through an online survey, including inhabitants from different regions of Portugal (n = 111). Cats and dogs are the most popular pets and the majority are adopted, fed commercial diets, live indoors, are vaccinated, dewormed, and treated for external parasites, and occasionally visit the veterinary practice. Portuguese owners are interested in improving their pet’s health, and would like to learn more about welfare, health assessment, and diet from veterinarians. However, microchip and municipal registration are often overlooked. Lack of adoption from animal shelters as well as expectations over the cost of veterinary practice were other difficulties identified in this study. Strategies for the improvement of pet health and welfare in Portugal were proposed as improving the perception of the value and importance of veterinary care, reducing the number of lost and abandoned pets, and improving awareness and education. Thus, Portuguese stakeholders and authorities must take the required measures to improve these issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: pet husbandry; pet diet; parasite control pet husbandry; pet diet; parasite control
MDPI and ACS Style

Prata, J.C. Strategies for the Improvement of Pet Health and Welfare in Portugal Based on a Pilot Survey on Husbandry, Opinion, and Information Needs. Animals 2020, 10, 848.

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