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Singapore got pets to fill the pandemic void but doesn’t know how to treat them right, according to a new survey.

Dog and cat owners have a shocking lack of knowledge about pet health issues, according to the poll published Monday by pet medicine maker Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, including some who knowingly overfeed them despite knowing it may be harmful.

The results were based on a survey of just over 1,000 pet owners in October, 32% of which had added pets to their lives since April 2020, when the city was locked down. Over half said they were seeking companionship.

Despite 89% of respondents saying the animals had positively impacted their mental wellbeing, most have a “worrying” lack of education on how to keep them healthy. 

While nearly all (96%) said they were concerned about their pets developing serious health issues, 61% admitted having little idea what problems they might face, and 2 out of 3 knew little or nothing about common ailments such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms, or even heart and kidney disease. Many said they did not know where to obtain credible information.

Over half (53%) of the respondents overfed their pets, with over a quarter (27%) doing so despite knowing it will harm them in the long run. While the majority said they would seek advice from vets, 35% said they’d browse information from pet health websites.

Most worrying, roughly 1-in-4 said they would look to YouTube and TikTok.

The animal health company says it is the second largest animal health business in the world and has offices in more than 150 countries.

Clarification: An earlier version suggested that respondents knowingly risked their pets’ lives by overfeeding them. While overfeeding can be fatal, the survey stated only that they knew it was bad for the animals.

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