Pubs serve up dog wellbeing sessions

RSA Group


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Pubs are providing free pet wellbeing sessions for dog owners to help them spot the signs of the blues


  • 32% of pet owners say their dog has experienced the winter blues
  • 35% of pet owners have turned to the internet to diagnose their dogs
  • Pub-based sessions with a RCVS registered vet nurse offer free, professional advice to help dog-owners better understand their pet’s wellbeing and what might affect them
  • Pub pet sessions available in pubs on the 30th and 31st January and 1st February
  • Interested pet-owners can visit to find out more


The pub: a British institution that can be relied upon for hearty food and drink, a friendly atmosphere and now, for the first time, dog wellbeing sessions. Indeed, as part of a new campaign by pet insurer MORE TH>N and vetfone, dog owners visiting pet-loving pubs this winter will get the chance to pick up a free serving of advice about their dog’s wellbeing from a vet nurse while they tuck into a pie and a pint.

It’s not always obvious why a pet might be acting out of character, so the intention of the pub pet wellbeing sessions is to raise awareness among dog owners of the different ways a dog’s wellbeing might be affected, whether that’s unseen physical ailments or even a bout of the ‘winter blues’.

Talking of the winter blues, research by MORE TH>N reveals that almost a third of dog owners (32%) claim their pet has been noticeably down in the dumps during the chillier months. What’s more, one in five (20%) even believe their dog has suffered from an animal equivalent of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – demonstrating symptoms such as being disinterested in playing (44%) or going for a walk (35%), having a reduced appetite (22%) and being less sociable (29%).

The pub pet sessions are run by qualified RCVS veterinary nurses and are an informal chance to get to know a dog’s health better in a relaxed and familiar environment that both owner and pet enjoy - the pub.

The campaign is also emphasising the importance of seeking professional advice if a pet is suspected to be ill, injured or acting out of character, with additional research by MORE TH>N indicating that over a third (35%) of pet owners have turned to the internet to diagnose their dogs. Of those, exactly half (50%) admitted they self-diagnosed online because it was quicker than visiting a vet, 34% turned to the web to save money on a vet’s visit and 27% did so because their vet was closed at the time. Worryingly, 48% of these owners administered treatment to their dog based on articles they had read online – despite the dangers of doing so.

Andrew Moore, Director of Pet Claims for MORE TH>N, believes the vetfone service offered as part of MORE TH>N’s pet insurance package helps pet owners avoid the pitfalls of self-diagnoses, giving them access to practical, expert information at any time of day or night, he says:

“Our research shows that dog owners can often be confused about what to do when they spot changes in their pet’s behaviour. The vetfone service is a brilliant resource that helps take the guess work out of responsible pet care and points pet owners in the right direction, whether that be to visit a vet or make changes in their routine that could make for a happier pet”.

 A vetfone spokesperson says:

There are a number of symptoms that could indicate your dog is feeling down, including increased licking, changes in diet, apathy, changes in sleeping patterns and if they are hiding from you.
 If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour or suspect something could be wrong, it’s important to seek expert advice as soon as possible in order to safeguard their wellbeing If a vet’s health check does not find any physical reason for your pet’s change in behaviour or lack of vitality, then you may want to ask your vet to see if the cause might be stress or anxiety related”.

Internet diagnoses-aside, other things dog owners would do if their dog seemed out of sorts are taking them out for a walk (32%), feeding them more (9%), giving them affection (53%), treats (22%) and more fresh air (20%). Over half (54%) would not seek veterinary advice.

MORE TH>N has teamed up with dog-friendly pubs in London, Hertfordshire and Surrey to host the free, drop-in sessions. The doggy drop-in sessions are running in addition to MORE TH>N’s existing customer offering, which gives MORE TH>N insured pet-owners access to a 24-hour-a-day vetfone service that they can call with any concerns about their pet to receive advice from a professional on what to do next. 

Sessions are open to all responsible pet-owners and are available at the following locations, dates and times:

Location: The Dolphin, The Street, Betchworth, Surrey RH3 7DW 

Date: Wednesday 30th January

Time: 11am - 4pm


Location: The Grove, 39 Oldridge road, Balham, London, SW12 8PN

Date: Thursday 31st January

Time: 11am - 4pm


Location: The Brocket Arms, Ayot St. Lawrence, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, AL6 9BT

Date: Friday 1st February

Time: 11am - 4pm

To find out more and book a session please visit:

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