We’re urging the government to support struggling pet owners

Dog owners are still paying way over the odds for their dogs’ everyday essentials, we’re asking the government to Paws the VAT on services for pet owners.

Dora the greyhound sitting on a sofa
19th January 2024

In April 2023 we sent an open charity letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, calling for greater support for owners struggling to meet the needs of their pets, and to help reduce the high demand on services being faced by the animal welfare sector.

The CPI (Consumer Price Index) announcement on 17th January suggests that dog owners are still facing harsh financial challenges.

We’ve worked with Oxford Economics to produce a ‘Dogflation’ report, which looks at the price of goods and services representative of the average costs of buying and caring for a dog in the UK.

The report shows that dog owners, a third of UK households, remain disproportionally hit by the everyday costs with ‘Dogflation’ at 9%, 5 percentage points above inflation, announced on 17th January at 4%.

About the letter to the Chancellor sent in April 2023

The letter to Jeremy Hunt MP was co-signed by the RSPCA, Cats Protection, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, PDSA, Pet Industry Federation and Local Government Animal Welfare Group.

Together, our seven organisations specifically asked the Treasury to provide urgent, targeted support for pet owners by temporarily removing VAT on veterinary services, including medicines, and pet food.

At the end of 2022, we launched our 'Paws the VAT' petition, and over 100,000 people have now signed in support. The petition has now been handed to the government.

We are offering help and support

In 2023, we received over 45,000 relinquishment enquiries from owners asking to hand over their dogs to the charity.

In response, we are doing all we can to keep dogs at home with the people who love them. We have set up dog food banks at some of our rehoming centres across the UK, which are open to anybody having trouble stretching to feed their pups.

We are also offering a discounted rate on Dog School training classes, to help owners who might be experiencing behavioural problems. 

We’re also urgently seeking foster carers who can offer a temporary home to big dogs, dogs with little-to-no house training, or dogs with challenging behaviour, to free up much needed space in rehoming centres.

Find out all our support for dog owners with dog advice and care during these difficult times.  

Owen Sharp, our Chief Executive, says: 

“Our Dogflation model shows that despite the surprise rise in inflation, dog owners – a third of UK households*** – are still disproportionately hit by the everyday costs of owning a dog.

“As we continue to receive handover enquiries from desperate owners, our priority is to keep as many dogs with their families as we can, and we’ll continue to work with our counterparts across the animal welfare sector to try to ensure dogs won’t go hungry.

“But this burden shouldn’t sit on the charity sector’s shoulders alone. We desperately need the government to step up and play its part for this country’s 12 million**** dogs and their owners, by cutting the 20% VAT on pet food, at least for the time being.”

To read our open letter to the Chancellor view the download below. 

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Open letter to the Chancellor