AGGRESSION IN dogs is rising due to a lack of training, socialisation and exercise, a new report suggests.
Almost a third (32%) of people in Scotland have been bitten or attacked by a dog, according to the PAW report from vet charity PDSA.
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The study also found that about six in ten (59%) people north of the border know someone who has been attacked by a dog.
There has also been a rise in dog hostility towards other pets, including attacks, and an increase in pet obesity levels across the UK.
One dog victim was Lhasa Apso Boycie, who was attacked by a German Shepherd dog while out with his owner and her young grandchild last month.
Margaret Ogilvie, 63, and her three-year-old granddaughter Abigail, who was staying overnight at her home in Leith, Edinburgh, were only just outside the front door when Boycie was set upon without warning by the larger dog.
She said: “Abigail was holding the extended lead and we were literally just about to go out when this dog, which belonged to a neighbour, came out of nowhere and attacked Boycie.
“Boycie was howling and thankfully the other dog’s owner managed to wrestle it off him.
“If he hadn’t got in there I’m sure Boycie would be dead. I shouted at the guy ‘why isn’t he on a lead?’ and he apologised, but it could have been so much worse.”
She added: “Any time we go out with Boycie now Abbie is on tenterhooks as it’s really scared her. Any bigger dog that comes up to him we’re all just panicking, and that isn’t right.”
Boycie, eight, was taken to PDSA’s Edinburgh Pet Hospital where vets examined him and found he was lame and had suffered bruising to his left hind leg.
He was given anti-inflammatory medications and Margaret was advised to rest him.
The study found that across the UK 2.4 million dogs are not given the opportunity to safely exercise off the lead outside of the home or garden on a daily basis - with over 800,000 of these dogs never going for walks.
In Scotland half of pets are fed fatty treats, the study found.
Eight in ten vets and vet nurses across the UK now predict there will be more overweight pets than healthy pets in five years’ time.
PDSA said that this can lead to destructive behaviour and anxiety as well as aggression, and is also contributing to the rise in pet obesity.
PDSA head of pet health and welfare Nicola Martin said: “We are undoubtedly a nation of animal lovers, with four out of five pet owners stating they feel physically or mentally healthier because of their pet.
“However, our latest findings reveal that anti-social behaviour in dogs continues to rise due to a worrying lack of training, socialisation and exercise.
“Owners are sadly continuing to feed the wrong types of food with portion sizes out of control.
“Preventative health is also a major concern - the basics such as vaccinations and neutering are often ignored by owners, leaving their pets vulnerable to a wide range of deadly diseases.”
The survey of 1,069 pet owners and 572 veterinary professionals was carried out online between September 18 and October 10.
It was weighted to be representative of the cat, dog and rabbit owners in the UK.
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