A quarter of dogs suffer from depression

MORE than one in four pet pooches are depressed as a result of living lonely lives, research suggests.

The study suggests more than 2.3 million dogs are routinely left in solitude for five or more hours - despite vets advising four hours as the absolute limit.

And the research shows 465,000 dogs are never even taken for a walk and, as a result, are at risk of mental health problems. Vets say a daily walk and meetings with other dogs are essential for the well-being of hounds who are naturally sociable animals.

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Experts say loneliness can lead dogs to developing destructive behaviour, as well as anxiety and frustration.

But the latest PDSA Animal Well-Being Report shows 28 per cent of UK dog owners surveyed believe it is acceptable to regularly leave a dog alone in the house for anything between six and 10 hours at a time.