Perky Tails

Be Canine Kind

What are ‘The Five Welfare Needs’ and Why Are They Important for my Dog?

What are ‘The Five Welfare Needs' and Why Are They Important for my Dog?

By Perky Tails Ltd

According to the ‘PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report’ 51% of UK households own a pet, and 25% own a dog. Worryingly, when it comes to an understanding of what it means to be a responsible dog owner, there is evidence that we as a nation could improve. Shockingly, a whopping 34% of us do not even understand their duty of care under The Animal Welfare Act. Within the Act five areas, otherwise known as ‘The Five Welfare Needs’, are outlined. These specifications were drafted by ‘Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’, who are actively working with the public to ensure that important animal welfare principles are understood and acknowledged.

What Are The Five Welfare Needs?

Every dog owner has the responsibility to ensure that his or her dogs five basic needs are taken care of. These are:


Every dog owner has the responsibility to protect their dog from injury, suffering, and disease as well as to provide treatment if they become ill or injured.


A suitable diet can include feeding appropriately for the pet’s life stage as well as feeding an appropriate amount of food to stop obesity or malnourishment/ Don’t forget to ensure that your dog has access to fresh clean water at all times.


Dogs also require the freedom to run, play, chase, dig and jump. When a dog’s behaviour is restricted and they are not afforded these freedoms, it is likely that their mental health will suffer.


Each and every dog owner also has the responsibility to ensure that their dog has a comfortable place to rest and hide. It is also important that a dog has sufficient space to exercise and explore.


Dogs are social animals and this means that have certain social needs that owners need to be aware of. If your work obligations commit you to leaving the house for extended periods of time then consider getting another dog. When dogs have another fury friend to keep them company, they are less likely to suffer from separation anxiety.  

What is found in the study, that affects dog owners?

PDSA has partnered up with YouGov, a leading UK research company, that provides accurate insights and statistics researching into global behavioural metrics. In conjunction with PDSA, YouGov have published a report (‘PDSA animal wellbeing report’) with a view to educating the public about what animal welfare. You can find some points highlighted in the report below:

  • The PDSA report has shown that owners who feel uninformed about their dogs Five Welfare Needs are more likely to underestimate the lifetime cost of their pet as being less than £500. This is despite, the minimum lifetime cost of dog ownership being closer to £6,500.


  • Veterinary professionals consistently identify obesity as one of leading welfare concerns in dogs. This can also be demonstrated by the findings of the PAW Report, which show that owners often do not realise their dog has obesity, suggesting that dogs are not getting the healthcare they need.


  • Only 52% of dog owners walk their dog more than once a day with an even small 33% walking their just once a day. In fact, the report suggests that 4.2 million dogs are only getting 30 minutes of exercise and 93,000 are never walked at all.


  • Despite the fact that dogs are social animals, 19% of them are left for five hours or more on a typical day. This is a problem because dogs leading an inactive life are more likely to suffer from boredom and this can lead to undesirable behaviours. This is supported by the fact that 66% of owners reported a desire to change at least one of their dog’s behaviours.


  • Loneliness is also likely to contribute largely to undesirable canine behaviour. However, the findings from the PDSA report suggest that there has been a small reduction canine loneliness (from 23% of dogs being left alone for longer than recommended in 2011, reducing to 19% in 2017).


  • Encouragingly, when dog owners were asked how to judge if their dog was a healthy weight, the most popular choice was to consult a professional. However, just 19% of dog owners said a veterinary professional’s advice is the main source of information they use when deciding how much to feed their dog.


Over the last seven years, the PAW Report has continued to track the health and wellbeing of UK pets. Despite a few positive moves, it is clear; there are still a lot of changes required to ensure The Five Welfare Needs are adhered to. More encouragement is required for our nation to become responsible pet owners. Referring to The Five Welfare Needs is a positive move for dog owners and also reminds them of their responsibilities in looking after our much-loved pooches. You can find this report by following the link below: