Puppy yoga: not as cute as it sounds

Puppy yoga has recently garnered criticism due to concerns regarding the welfare and stress levels of the puppies involved. While the intention behind combining yoga and puppies is often to create a joyful and relaxing atmosphere, the reality can be quite different.

How does puppy yoga harm the welfare of puppies? 

  • Some of the puppies are as young as six weeks old. By law, they should be with their mothers for at least the first eight weeks of their lives.
  • The puppies are being put to work for extensive periods each day. 
  • Puppies are picked up while sleeping.
  • The yoga rooms are often overly warm to suit the needs of humans, despite the health risk to the puppies. 
  • In one case, puppies did not have access to water to prevent urination. 

Esme Wheeler, dog behaviour expert at the RSPCA, said: “If a young puppy is placed into situations where they feel overwhelmed and frightened they may start to view the things they are being introduced to as frightening, which can then lead to a negative reaction in the future and the potential development of behavioural problems. 

“You might think it is cute to be able to cuddle a puppy while doing yoga but would it be cute if you knew that doing so is actually not benefiting the dog at all? We know many people attending puppy yoga classes want to be kind to animals – but won’t realise the implications these classes can have for dogs and their welfare.

“Fortunately, there are loads of other great ways people can interact and de-stress with dogs in a fun, social and welfare-friendly way.”

Here are some alternative activities you might wish to consider: 

  • Dog walking – Whether you volunteer or offer to help out family and friends with dog walks, this is an alternative to puppy yoga that is equally as relaxing and a great way to get some steps in!
  • Volunteering with dogs – Charities such as the RSPCA and Dog’s Trust are always looking for helping hands. Not only will you get your fill of dog kisses but you’ll also be having a positive impact on the animal’s wellbeing. It’s a win-win! 
  • Rescue a dog – Help give a dog a home by adopting a dog in need. Remember, owning a dog is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly so make sure this is something you can keep up with in terms of care and finance etc. 

The RSPCA has urged people who are considering attending a puppy yoga class to take part in alternative activities. Help spread the word by sharing this post with your colleagues and clients!

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