ALMOST 400 animals were rehomed by the RSPCA in Dorset last year as a result of a surge in pet ownership during the Covid pandemic.

The charity is emphasising the importance of animals’ well-being and understanding pet behaviour this month, which marks adoptober.

“There has been a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic and whilst it’s great to see so many pets becoming a real source of comfort during the last year,” said Dr Sam Gaines, head of the companion animals team at the RSPCA.

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“It’s important that we remember that our mental health can impact on that of our pets and we need to make sure we consider their mental health and know how they are feeling.”

In 2020 28,740 animals were rehomed by the RSPCA, with 390 of those pets in Dorset.

Dorset Echo: Maxy has been with the RSPCA since 2019

With the number of pets in the country only rising the charity says it is more important than ever for people to make sure they understand how their pets are feeling to keep them happy and healthy.

Dr Gaines said: “From changes in their behaviour to their body language, our pets can give us insight into their mental wellbeing and it’s important that as pet owners we know how to spot these signs and act on them.”

One of the concerns regarding the mental wellbeing of dogs is that as owners return to offices dogs may struggle to adapt to being left alone for short periods.

Signs of a worried or unhappy dog include standing but their head position is low, avoiding eye contact or stiffened body posture.

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For cats the worry is that cats like routine and disruption to that may leave some feline feeling stressed or anxious, the RSPCA warns.

The body language of a worried or unhappy cat includes being in a crouched position with tense muscles and their tail tucked tightly, lying down flattened with dilated pupils and mouth open or standing with their back arched, body sideways and hair raised.

Dr Gaines added: “This adoptober we’re urging anyone thinking of getting a pet to consider adopting rather than buying an animal.

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“Anyone who is thinking of getting a pet should do their research and check they have the time, money and lifestyle to care for an animal for its whole life.”

To find out more about how to read your pets behaviour further information is available on the RSPCA website.