Pet owners are increasingly unable to afford their pets as the cost of living crisis deepens, charities say.
The Dogs Trust has received 15,000 calls this year from owners asking about the process of giving up their dogs to be rehomed.
The figure is up 54% from this year, and the highest since the charity’s contact center opened in 2014.
In the first five months of 2022, the RSPCA welcomed 49% more rabbits, 14% more cats and 3% more dogs compared to the same period in 2021. Its research suggests that cat owners are most affected and concerned by cost of living pressures. .
Dogs Trust CEO Owen Sharp said they were targeting families “forced to make impossible choices because of their financial circumstances”.
They had even received a call from a lady who was “distraught because she felt she had no choice but to abandon the family dog; she was faced with a decision between feeding him or his children,” he said.
The costs of things like pet food rose after Russia invaded Ukraine, which fueled inflation in the UK which could reach 13%.
Veterinary charity PDSA estimate the cost of keeping a dog at £50-80 a month. But that’s £25-30,000 over the dog’s lifetime, including initial costs like a bed and leash, additional items including toys and poop bags, plus pet insurance .
The RSPCA has warned the country is on the ‘verge of an animal welfare crisis’ due to the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic and the resulting cost of living crisis , especially for low-income households.
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“We are starting to see the ripple effects of this as we and other charities predicted,” Emma Slawinski, RSPCA’s director of advocacy and policy, said in a statement earlier this summer.
“Tragically, we are starting to see an increase in pet abandonment and an increasing number of cats and rabbits being rescued and placed in our care,” she added.
A YouGov survey of 4,000 people, commissioned by the RSPCA, suggested that 78% of pet owners believe the cost of living will have an impact on their pets, nearly seven in 10 (68%) were concerned about the rising cost of care, and a fifth (19%) worried about whether they could afford to feed their pets.
The Dogs Trust has urged pet owners to get in touch before they reach crisis point. Various forms of help from donors, volunteers, foster families and adopters are available, said the charity, which houses dogs until they can find new ones for them. homes.