ITV News in the United Kingdom has released the findings of their investigation on the puppy yoga trend in the U.K., claiming that the experience can be "incredibly distressing" for dogs due to a lack of basic welfare requirements being ignored. ITV News claims that their investigation found that dogs in puppy yoga classes were taken too early from their mothers, did not receive enough water, were deprived of sleep and were put in uncomfortable positions.
According to ITV News' investigation, puppy yoga typically takes the form of a regular yoga session with the dogs in the room. Customers get to pet the dogs at the end of the session. Experts at the U.K.-based Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty Against Animals (RSPCA) also weighed in on the situation, concluding that the organization is "unconvinced" that puppy yoga classes are a good setting for dogs.
The investigation suggests that there’s nothing wrong with doing yoga alongside your own dog, but the repeated, busy, stressful environments of some puppy yoga classes could be harming their non-human participants. Here are four potential issues pointed out in the ITV News investigation report.
1. Puppies were parted from their mothers too early
The investigation claims that puppies as young as six and a half weeks old were being put out to play in yoga classes. ITV calculated at least nine lessons puppies took part in before they were eight weeks old. That can mean up to four hours in these spaces with a fifteen-minute gap in between.
2. Some puppies weren’t given enough water
The investigation found some companies restricting puppies’ access to water to try and keep the sessions dry. ITV reporters questioned whether the puppies had water and were told by the yoga instructor that they had not received water because it would make them pee.
3. Sleep deprivation
Since attendees look forward to some puppy love - and pay above usual prices for these interactions - class organizers often woke the animals from their sleep to participate, according to the investigation.
4. Yoga classes may be too bright and noisy for puppies
At normal classes, yoga instructors tend to create a peaceful ambiance with dimmed lighting and relaxing sounds and scents to help unwind. However, the investigation indicates that puppy yoga classes can be different, with more of an entertainment factor behind some classes and an upbeat approach.
In one class described in the report, tiny cockapoo puppies were sent to mix with participants while music played in an environment that was deemed by RSPCA experts to be incredibly loud and bright, concluding that it was not an environment where young animals would learn anything positive.