Both the RSPCA in the UK and The Kennel Club have raised concerns about a new trend to do yoga with puppies. It’s called “Puppy Yoga” unsurprisingly and it involves puppies as young as 6.5 weeks of age joining the class. I suspect that puppies are added to the class because it is a known fact that the presence of a companion animal is good for mental health and well-being. The question is whether it is also good for the well-being of puppies or at least acceptable.
Some animal welfare experts believe that Puppy Yoga puts the dogs at risk of harm. Some even suggest that it may be breaking animal welfare laws. They would be referring to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which is an excellent piece of legislation and one for other countries to follow if I may say so.
The comments by the RSPCA and The Kennel Club follow an ITV investigation which found that puppies were being deprived of sleep and water in hot yoga classrooms. The investigation apparently shows that the puppies were working long hours every day and that they weren’t allowed to leave the studios. They want Puppy Yoga banned. A strong demand.
Puppy Yoga is being promoted by social media influencers. The puppies roam around the studio and they can be used in different yoga poses. It’s not clear to me whether the puppies come from the people participating in the yoga class or whether they are supplied by the commercial enterprise organising the class. But we know that puppies can be obtained from breeders or animal shelters.
Puppy Yoga’s popularity has increased since it was featured on the reality TV shows: Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex.
Twenty-five companies, The Times reports, advertise Puppy Yoga classes across the UK charging £43 per session.
The ITV reporters infiltrated Puppy Yoga Essex and a class hosted by The Bully Barn in Wickford. They asked the organisers whether puppies had access to water as it was hot in the studio. The yoga teacher responded with: “Oh, no, no it might make them pee more”. Comment: that is the kind of response I would expect from a yoga teacher. It was an off-the-cuff remark but one which revealed a deficiency in the organisation.
Esme Wheeler, the RSPCA’s dog welfare expert said that in not providing water they exposed puppies to “significant risk”. She added:
“Dogs do not have the capacity to store water in the same way that we do so they need constant access, otherwise [ill] health and potentially fatality can occur quite quickly.”
Also, Bill Lambert, the health, welfare and breeder services executive at The Kennel Club said:
Any dog, but especially those of such a young age, should always have access to water, a safe area to go to the toilet and exercise, as well as plenty of time to rest in a quiet and ideally private area. We have serious concerns about puppies being taken into any environment where there are not clear standards around how they are cared for before, during and after that time. There should also be someone responsible and knowledgeable looking out for their welfare, and making it a priority, at all times.
He is worried that puppies could grow up with behavioural problems because they are being exposed to an abnormal environment during a very formative time of their lives. He added that there is no regulations around Puppy Yoga and it concerns him that anybody can set it up.
The first few months of a puppy’s life are the most important as they are shaping their worldview. Experiences they have [at] this time can have lifelong consequences. The process of socialisation needs to be carried out gradually.
The tweet below may disappear as it is embedded.
I had a look on the internet. They are everywhere!!!! What happens to the puppies after they've done with them? This is disgusting!!!!! https://t.co/s9zepyfdXX— sylvia jackson (@seasylvia2005) July 4, 2023