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Italy bans ‘stressful’ puppy yoga


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Italy has banned “puppy yoga”, ruling that the fitness fad is too stressful for the animals.

There have been allegations that some puppies have been denied access to water to avoid them urinating on the floor – or on yoga practitioners – during classes.

Only adult dogs should be used in animal-assisted therapy, the Italian health ministry has decreed.

The RSPCA said the trend, popularised by celebrities and social media influencers, involved puppies that were as young as six weeks old roaming around a yoga class and, in some cases, being incorporated in yoga poses.

The RSPCA said: “There is nothing in the environment which we would consider to be beneficial to the health, welfare or the behavioural lifelong development of these animals.”

The decision to prohibit puppy yoga was welcomed by animal rights groups, which said that young dogs are sometimes borrowed from breeders to participate in yoga classes.

Puppy yoga is ‘stressful experience’

Piera Rosati, the president of the National League for the Protection of Dogs, said: “The exploitation of puppies for commercial ends does not take into account the wellbeing and psychological health of animals which are too fragile to be treated in this way.

“At this age, puppies should not have to suffer stress and journeys (to and from yoga studios), but live in a quiet and protected environment under the care of their mothers, which teach them how to socialise and confront the outside world.”

Animal rights organisations had campaigned for a boycott of the puppy yoga phenomenon.

Giusy D’Angelo, of the National Association for the Protection of Animals, said: “Puppy yoga is a stressful experience for puppies.

“This activity has no positive aspects for the wellbeing of the animals, just economic benefits for those who organise it.”

The health ministry has ordered authorities in Italy’s 20 regions to check that puppy yoga sessions are no longer held.

In July last year, the RSPCA in Britain urged people not to attend puppy yoga classes, saying that it was “detrimental to dog welfare and could even be fuelling unscrupulous puppy traders”.

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