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Are our pets living longer?

A LEADING UK pet charity is asking whether the nation’s pets living longer, happier and healthier lives, mirroring the growing population of human OAPs.

If you are the proud owner of an Old Aged Pet (OAP), don’t miss your opportunity to take part in the first national census of UK ‘pet pensioners’.

The PDSA, the UK’s leading veterinary charity, is asking pet owners to log-on to its website to help provide vital clues. Initial findings from PDSA treatment data, from the 4,650 sick and injured pets treated daily at PDSA PetAid hospitals nationwide, indicate that over one in ten cats and dogs treated by PDSA vets are aged between 11 and 14 years.

Pet owners can join in the census via a questionnaire at the PDSA website, or can pick up a questionnaire at a PDSA PetAid hospital. Responses must be received by Monday 10 April.

As a key component of PDSA’s mission to promote responsible pet ownership, the census will not only look to investigate how improvements in veterinary healthcare have affected the life expectancy of our household pets, but will also measure how pet owners have responded to responsible pet care messages, such as the importance of vaccination, neutering, diet and exercise.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: "People in the 21st century are living longer due to better diets and improved healthcare. In the same way we hope the ‘PDSA pet pensioner’ census will provide a snap-shot of how this trend may also be reflected in the pet population. A cat or dog that was once your childhood chum, can very often be a friend in adulthood with the right balance of veterinary care, diet and exercise, plus that all-important TLC."

The PDSA pet pensioner census is also being promoted in the April issues of Your Cat and Your Dog magazines. On sale now, dog and cat owners can send in the details of their pets via a questionnaire. The first five entrants out of a hat will win a selection of PDSA goodies.