A (happy) dog’s life - running, eating, and sleeping

What makes your dog happy?
What makes your dog happy?

A dog’s life is a happy life when spent running, eating, and sleeping, a new study has found.

The RSPCA surveyed hundreds of owners to find out what makes their pet happy.

And 90 per cent of dog owners reported their canine companion loves nothing more than exploring and investigating.

81 per cent said their pet enjoys going for a walk off-lead, and similarly, 82 per cent said their pet enjoyed going for a run.

But it’s eating that dogs seem to like most, with 91 per cent of owners stating that as their pet’s favourite pastime, although only marginally ahead of sleeping, with 90 per cent of dog owners agreeing their pet loved settling down in their basket for a nap.

And 94 per cent of people said it was important their dog is healthy and happy, and able to exercise, run and play freely.

However, some dogs are less able to enjoy these simple pleasures, thanks to the way they’re bred. Dogs with short, flat faces (brachycephalic) - like Pekingese and pugs - are more likely to suffer from respiratory disorders which can make it difficult for them to breathe when they exercise.

Also, extreme brachycephalic dogs died at a significantly younger age (8.7 years) in comparison to other dogs without short, flat faces (12.7 years).

RSPCA canine welfare expert Lisa Richards said: “We remain concerned that many dogs are still suffering because they’re bred and judged primarily for how they look rather than with health, welfare and temperament in mind.

“Many dogs have been bred to emphasise certain physical features, some of which have become so extreme that they can cause pain and suffering, make dogs prone to particular disorders, or even prevent them from behaving normally and from enjoying the activities we know dogs love.

“The RSPCA believes there is still much to be done to protect the future health of dogs and that all those who breed dogs should prioritise health, welfare and temperament over appearance when choosing which animals to breed.”