One in ten dog owners ‘forced into debt’ to cover dog care costs

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An online poll carried out for canine charity Dogs Trust shows that “more than one in ten dog owners (13 per cent) has been forced into debt in order to care for their dog, a situation that is set to get worse as pet owners face an increase in the costs associated with caring for dogs”.

The survey, carried out last week by YouGov on behalf of the charity, also revealed that a third (33 per cent) would be forced to borrow money to pay for an unexpected vet bill of £100. Eight in ten (84 per cent) dog owners have experienced a rise in the costs associated with keeping their dog; 77 per cent of those surveyed told the charity they had seen their pet food increase in price, with 43 per cent seeing an increase in cost of routine vet appointments. A further 41 per cent reported that their pet insurance has increased.

“We have a situation in which many of the UK’s dog owners are having to make cost-cutting decisions that could be harmful to their dog’s health”

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, says, “It’s hugely worrying that dog owners are falling into debt with the cost of looking after their dogs, and a stark indicator of how seriously the cost of living crisis is impacting on our dog-loving nation.

“We’re not laying the blame at the door of vets, who are themselves impacted by rising costs, leading to higher fees. But we have a situation in which many of the UK’s dog owners are having to make cost-cutting decisions that could be harmful to their dog’s health, such as skipping vaccines and worming treatments, and some dogs are missing emergency treatment because their owners can’t afford it.

“I’m really worried that, despite our best efforts, the sector will reach a point where we’ve reached the limit of what we can do, and we’ll be forced to turn away dogs in need.”

One in five respondents (22 per cent) said they had switched to cheaper dog food, one in ten (10 per cent) said they had delayed seeking veterinary treatment for non-routine procedures due to cost. A similar number (9 per cent) had delayed or missed appointments for routine treatments, such as vaccinations and flea/worming treatments.

According to Dogs Trust, 3 per cent of dog owners surveyed would have to consider rehoming their dog if the cost of living continues to rise; this would amount to 360,000 dogs across the UK.

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