Cost of living crisis: Four million pet owners cutting back on weekly food shop to afford their animals

cost of living
Maggie Davies

Figures from one vet charity found a similar proportion of people (16% of 3.7 million pet owners) are reducing their energy consumption to cut costs to ensure they can provide for their animals.

Sky News reports that four million pet owners have been cutting back on their weekly food shop to ensure they can continue looking after their pets during the cost of living crisis.

Figures from vet charity PDSA found a similar proportion of people (16% of 3.7 million pet owners) are reducing their energy consumption to cut costs and ensure they can provide for their animals.

PDSA has warned the findings reflect a “stark reality” for pet owners, many of whom are being forced to make drastic lifestyle changes to stay afloat.

As many as 770,000 owners are even going without necessities, including skipping meals, to keep money aside to afford the costs associated with looking after their four-legged friends.

The charity surveyed 5,507 dog, cat, and rabbit owners aged 18+ who lived in the UK between 23 December 2022 and 18 January 2023.

Nearly half (47%) of owners are worried about affording the cost of treatment if their pet should fall ill, with more than a quarter (26%) saying they would go into debt – either with friends or family or via taking out loans – to cover any unexpected vet treatment.

A separate survey by consumer champion Which? found one in seven people have skipped meals amid the rising cost of living, with high energy bills and soaring inflation putting pressure on households.

Despite worrying reports that more owners are being forced to rehome their animals some 95% said they were determined to do whatever possible to avoid this. In 2022 PDSA provided pet care for over 390,000 pets, whose owners would otherwise have struggled to afford the cost.

PDSA Veterinary Surgeon, Lynne James, said: “Now more than ever, the treatment we provide is a lifeline for families who face the horrible decision of being able to eat regular meals or provide their furry family member with their usual necessities”.

“It’s PDSA’s mission to keep people and pets together. Last year we helped more than 330,000 pet owners. With more than half of those who rely on our services aged 55 and over, and 37% disabled or living with a serious health condition, their pet often provides vital companionship. “For lots of our clients, their pets are their only companion, and their lives would be unimaginable without them.”

Anyone struggling with the cost of vet bills, she said, should go to the PDSA website for further advice.

(Story source: Sky News)

 

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