Lady with dog

Vet bodies call on profession to highlight benefits of registering pets

With figures suggesting that 85% of pet owners have registered their pet with a vet but an estimated 3.1 million pet dogs, cats and rabbits in the UK are still not registered, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has joined forces with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to launch a social media campaign during National Pet Month (1 April to 7 May) to highlight the benefits of registering pets with veterinary practices.

The joint ‘Pets Need Vets’ campaign shares 11 reasons why pet owners should register their animals with a vet, including easier access to treatment during emergencies, regular health checks for pets and tailored nutritional advice, and encourages them to use our Find a Vet service to find the right vet practice for them and their pet.

Figures released in the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report in 2017 revealed that 85% of animal owners in the UK had already registered their pets with a vet, so this campaign aims to raise awareness amongst the remaining 15% of the value of doing the same.

Speaking about the campaign, British Veterinary Association President John Fishwick said: “Pets need vets to ensure their lifelong wellbeing, which is why it is concerning that a large number of pet owners in the country have not registered their animals with a practice. It is important that owners have access to reliable advice and veterinary care to be able to best look after their pets, and so we are calling on the profession to get involved in promoting the wealth of benefits that registering with a vet practice provides.”

RCVS President Professor Stephen May added: “Owning an animal is a huge responsibility, which is why access to professional veterinary advice is vital. With this campaign we aim to highlight some of the very considerable benefits of registering pets with a veterinary practice, and raise awareness amongst pet owners who have not yet registered of the value of having access to professional veterinary advice, expertise and treatment to keep their animals healthy. We would be delighted if practices across the country would help share these messages on their own social media accounts.”

Vets, vet nurses and veterinary practices can help spread the word on the value of registering pets by sharing campaign resources on social media using the hashtag ‘#petsneedvets’, downloading campaign resources and using the opportunity to encourage local pet owners to register with their practice.

To further highlight the value of veterinary care and the special bond between a veterinary professional and the animals under their care, BVA is also encouraging existing clients to share pictures of their pets at the vets online using the hashtags #lovemyvet and #lovemyvetnurse.

The Pets Need Vets campaign stems from the aim of the joint BVA and RCVS Vet Futures Action Plan to develop communications tools to assist the public’s understanding of veterinary costs and fees, and promote the value of veterinary care.

View more information on the campaign and shareable resources.

Animal welfare needs sticker

BVA encourages profession to inspire next generation of vets

As children return to school this month, the British Veterinary Association is encouraging veterinary teams to help children learn about animal welfare after figures show 85% of school children have never heard of the five animal welfare needs – but primary school is the age when most vets decide they want to enter the profession.

BVA’s recent Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey revealed that more than 50% of young vets surveyed had settled on pursuing veterinary medicine by the age of 10, and 76% said that their choice was driven by an interest in caring for animals.

Unfortunately, despite over half of UK households owning a pet, PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report shows that only a quarter of children have been taught how to care for pets at school, even as 97% of veterinary professionals cite the value in encouraging pet owners to better understand and provide for the five welfare needs of their pets.

To support the next generation to be more aware of how to care for their pets, the Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition – which includes BVA, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS), Blue Cross, PDSA and RSPCA – launched a set of stickers to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the Animal Welfare Acts as an educational tool for vets, teachers and parents.

The stickers are designed to be a used as a fun way of introducing and discussing the five vital needs of animals as described in the UK’s Animal Welfare Acts:

  • the provision of a suitable living environment
  • a suitable diet
  • the need to exhibit normal behaviour
  • to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

BVA hopes that by teaching children about the five welfare needs, they will in turn discuss this with their family and friends at home too. Apart from the principles of responsible ownership, it is hoped that sensitisation to the welfare needs of animals will instil in young people a lasting respect and compassion for all animals, from fish and rabbits to dogs and horses.

British Veterinary Association President John Fishwick said:

“Year on year, irresponsible ownership and lack of owner understanding for pets’ needs comes out in vets’ top three concerns.

“Educating children and young adults about the five welfare needs of animals is an invaluable step towards ensuring that the next generation not only values the human-animal bond but is aware of its responsibilities towards pets.

“We hope that using these stickers and holding sessions on animal welfare at school, local groups or in practice will translate to happy pet owners and, indeed, happy healthy pets too.”

To order a set of five welfare need stickers for free, email the BVA on with the requested amount (max 10 sheets/150 stickers) and a postal address.

94% of British public says “We trust you, you’re a vet”

A national opinion poll, commissioned by the Vet Futures project and carried out by ICM, of more than 2,000 members of the public has found that 94% of the general public trusts the veterinary profession generally or completely. This puts veterinary surgeons above GPs, dentists, and head teachers in terms of how well the key professions are trusted in Great Britain.

In a list of key professions the veterinary profession came third in terms of overall trust. Vets are just behind opticians, who attracted a 95% trust rating, and pharmacists, who took the top position with 97%.

The survey also found that 78% of people using veterinary services are satisfied or very satisfied with the level of service they receive. This puts veterinary surgeons in the middle of the field ranging from 87% of people satisfied with the service they receive from pharmacists to 55% satisfied with the service from accountants.

Finally, the survey found that 70% of those who use veterinary services rate the value for money offered by their veterinary practice as fair, good or excellent.

Commenting on the findings Stuart Reid, President of the RCVS, said: “Throughout the Vet Futures project we have been listening closely to the hopes and fears of the veterinary profession and heard a lot about how veterinary surgeons and nurses perceive themselves. To complete the picture, RCVS and BVA felt it was essential that we also gain a deeper understanding of how the general public perceives the veterinary profession.

“The results are extremely encouraging; particularly in relation to how well the public trusts members of the profession, including both animal owners and non-animal owners.

“But it is also clear that there is more to be done in relation to public perceptions of value for money. We will explore these issues further as the Vet Futures project progresses and we are keen to hear ideas from all members of the veterinary team.”

John Blackwell, President of BVA, added: “The veterinary profession sets itself very high standards and we know from our own member research that vets are particularly concerned, and sometimes worried, about how their clients – and wider society – perceive them. So it is particularly heartening to learn that the general public holds the profession in such high regard in relation to trust.

“Vets also score well in relation to the levels of satisfaction experienced by clients, and practices constantly strive to improve the service they deliver to their patients and animal owners.

“Through the Vet Futures project we hope to raise awareness of the very wide range of essential roles carried out by veterinary surgeons from clinical practice with livestock and pets to groundbreaking research, and from safeguarding the food we eat to upholding and promoting the very best animal welfare standards. Vets should be proud to be part of one of the most trusted professions in Britain.”