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Feeling Wuff? helpucover.co.uk unites owners of stressed dogs


Wednesday December 1st 2010

helpucover.co.uk* a leading provider of pet insurance has set up an exclusive Pet Forum for owners to share hints and tips in a bid to help the nation's 'stressed' pets find some peace of mind. Broken furniture, chewed carpets, hours of howling and barking or wet patches are some of the symptoms of what dog experts call 'anxiety distress'.

- The Most common dog breeds to be referred to a counsellor from The Association of pet behaviours counsellors are mongrels, Labradors and German Shepherd Dogs.
- Over 50% of stressed dogs treated by The Association of Pet Behaviour counsellors have aggression issues. According to a survey by the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, 28% of the dogs that took part in the survey 'marked' indoors as a sign of stress
- 22% showed aggression to cats and other dogs
- 12% had fears and phobias
- 7% had bonding problems with their owners **
"Dogs are social animals and being left alone for hours is very stressful. Think about how you would feel if you had to spend hours in solitary confinement." says Dr Eric Jackson, Veterinary Surgeon, with over thirty years experience of dealing with stressed and aggressive dogs. Dr Jackson recommends that owners who have any concern about the mental state of their pet should not hesitate to seek professional advice. Dr Jackson concludes "The problems may be solved easily, for example by providing simple rules to avoid reinforcing aggressive behaviour. More complex problems may need detailed assessment by a pet behavioural specialist before a solution can be found."
Like Humans, stressed dogs can become depressed, aggressive and even put on weight. Research*** has shown that aggressive pets have a significantly higher level of the stress hormone Cortisol in their blood. However aggressive dogs may have a lower level of the hormone Seratonin in their blood. Low levels of Seratonin are linked with depression in humans and could be linked with stress and depression in dogs. In both cases the most important first step is to recognise that there may a "stress factor" and that this needs to be dealt with sooner not later.
Dr Jackson says "Stress can cause aggressive behaviour. In 2009 there were 107,030 recorded cases involving dogs biting people in the UK. No matter how well trained a dog is, owners should remember that dogs, unlike cats, are deemed property, which means owners are liable for any damage they cause. Many Pet policies do not cover behaviour issues so check your policy carefully."
Is your pet stressed?
Is it
* Becoming withdrawn by hiding in corners or sitting immobile for long periods?
* Becoming aggressive to other pets or people?
* Going off its food?
* Becoming restless or unusually vocal?
* Excessively grooming or mutilating itself and marking in the house?
Dr Jackson concludes "The most important factor in an animal's recovery from psychological problems is probably not just medication but the commitment and patience of a good owner implementing sound professional advice to tackle the problem.
helpucover.co.uk wants to hear from all pet owners with their tips for helping their pets cope with the stress at www.helpucover.co.uk/petstress
All responses will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a year's supply of pet food up to the value of £500!****
Ends

Dog injury facts: *****
- More than 100 victims of dog bites were admitted to hospital each week last year, an increase of 66% compared to the period 1998-1999 (i)
- 5,221 people were treated in England last year for injuries received in attacks by dogs compared with 3,137 ten years ago (ii)
- 1,250 were child victims including many babies and toddlers (iii)
- The risk of dog bites is highest in boys aged five to nine years old (iv)


*helpucover.co.uk is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc.
** APBC Annual Review 2005.
*** Study carried out by Zaragoza University, Spain reported in The Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science. July 2010.
**** Terms and Conditions apply. See our website for further details.
***** APBC Annual Review 2005
*RSPCA 2010 statistics
i - Hospital Episode Statistics - Dog bites in the home treated at UK hospitals. A UK national estimate was calculated for each incident by using the sample cases and National Multipliers specified by the DTI
ii - Hospital Episode Statistics
iii - Hospital Episode Statistics
iv - Hospital Episode Statistics

For media enquiries, please contact:
helpucover.co.uk (Cardif Pinnacle)
Barbara Russell - Head of Marketing
Sarah Potter - Communications Manager 020 8207 9000

Notes to Editors
About helpucover.co.uk
www.helpucover.co.uk is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc - one of the UK's leading insurers. Pinnacle Insurance plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Pinnacle Insurance plc (which also trades under the name of Cardif Pinnacle) is the UK insurance arm of banking group BNP Paribas SA, a European leader in global financial services. Formed in 1971 and currently employing circa 750 staff in the UK, Cardif Pinnacle has established itself as a leading provider of Protection solutions. The Cardif Pinnacle group acquired Warranty Direct and Direct Life and Pensions in 2008, specialists in the provision of warranty and life insurance products. With an emphasis on quality of service for clients and customers, Cardif Pinnacle is a preferred partner to more than 250 of the UK's leading Banks, Building Societies, Finance Houses and Intermediaries. It is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

BNP Paribas Assurance (www.assurance.bnpparibas.com) is the Life and Property & Casualty insurance unit of BNP Paribas. It develops and markets products and services under two commercial brands. Products distributed through the BNP Paribas retail branch network in France are branded BNP Paribas. Those distributed by other channels in France and in international markets are branded Cardif. BNP Paribas Assurance is the world leader in creditor insurance and the fourth-largest life insurance company in France. Its life and non-life insurance units have received an AA rating from Standard & Poor's. It had gross written premiums of 20.7 billion euros in 2009. With a diversified geographic footprint, BNP Paribas Assurance has strong positions in Europe, Latin America and Asia. In 2009, BNP Paribas Assurance generated 41% of its gross written premiums outside France. It counts over 8,000 employees, 74% of them outside France. NP Paribas Assurance is actively committed to exemplary Corporate Social Responsibility. It has adopted a Socially Responsible Investment program, encourages diversity throughout the enterprise (earning the "Gender Equality at Work" label in France) and supports local economic development in the markets where it operates. BNP Paribas Assurance is equally committed to environmental responsibility and has deployed an action plan to achieve a 10-percent reduction in the company's carbon emissions.