We love our dogs - but four in ten of us think they have mental health problems

Ellen Manning
Woman getting a kiss off her pet puppy dog
Our pets make us happy, but we're worried about theirs, a new survey has revealed (Picture: Getty)

Dogs are key to our happiness, a new study has found, yet more than four in ten of owners think their four-legged friends have mental health problems.

According to a survey by pet tech firm Furbo, more than half of people (57%) also admitted that having their dog by their side has the biggest positive impact on their mental health.

But worryingly, 46% of dog owners think their pet pooch has suffered from depression, anxiety and phobias, recognising signs of stress such as barking, destroying post and chewing beds, as well as becoming withdrawn or not wanting to go outside.

However, 52% of owners surveyed revealed that they think we assign human moods and feelings to our dogs, so are they really stressed, or are we just projecting?

Doctor examines the dog's eyes on blurred background.
Women tend to turn to experts like vets or behaviourists if they're worried about their pet's happiness (Picture: Getty)

To be sure, more owners are seeking help to be certain their dogs are happy - though women tend to speak to vets or behaviourists (77%) while men might be more likely to turn to tech (53%).

Either way, we’re spending a lot, with over half (53%) of city dog owners spending up to £100 a month on their pet’s happiness.

It’s worth it though, the survey suggests, with 87% of people saying their dog makes them happiest on a daily basis - trumping partners (50%) and friends (22%).


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Former professional dog trainer Ryan O’Meara said: “The role of the modern dog is very different today as fewer and fewer dogs are purchased with the intention of performing particular tasks but, more specifically, as a means to provide pure companionship.

“As our own lives become busier and more stress-filled, it makes sense that owners would worry that their dogs, who share our lives, would feel similar to us.

“Often this is simply a case of incorrectly transferring our very human worries on to our nearest and dearest friends (our dogs) but in some instances, it’s true.

“Dogs can be stressed if we’re stressed. We know this to be the case. So even in the ironic case of us being stressed about whether our dogs are stressed, we can inadvertently make our dogs feel anxious.

“The key to avoiding these negative scenarios is to ensure our dogs are properly fed, mentally stimulated and lead a life of recognisable routine and stability.”

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