February 21, 2005
Dogs with working owners should go to crèches, just like pre-school children do.
The social contacts offered by day-care facilities prevent dogs from becoming lonely, according to a report on loneliness in pets published recently by a Dutch animal protection group in honour of the Week of the Pet (8 – 15 May). The report was written by Joanna Weenk, an Animal Management student at the Van Hall Institute in Leeuwarden, now a part of Wageningen UR. She did a literature survey of conditions in which dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, horses and parrots kept as pets, and concluded that these social animals can suffer from loneliness if they have no contact with fellow animals, or receive too little attention from their owners. As a result they start to show abnormal behaviour, such as making a lot of noise, scratching and gnawing. According to the report there are 4.6 million pets that live alone, all of whom are potentially lonely.