Cost-of-living crisis starts to bite dog owners, shows new poll

Almost half of the UK’s dog owners (45%) are now finding that the cost of living crisis is making it more difficult for them to give their dogs all they need, finds a new poll carried out on behalf of Dogs Trust.

The research, carried out by YouGov in the first week of July, shows a sharp increase from when UK dog owners were asked the same question only a month ago, when just over a third (35%) said the rising cost of living was making giving it difficult to give their dogs all they needed.

Top concerns

While in June just under half (49%) of dog owners in the UK who said they feel worried about how they will care for their dog in the next year named vet bills as their biggest concern, the balance has now tipped to over half in July (51%), as it continues to hold top place in the list of owners’ worries for their dogs in the months to come.

Second in the list was the price of dog food, which one in five are now worried about – 20%, up from 17% in June. In third place is the cost of insurance, which was the only area people were slightly less worried about, dropping from 15% to 13% of respondents naming it as their main concern in June and July respectively.

What Dogs Trust is seeing

Meanwhile, when non-dog owners were asked whether the rising cost of living would prevent them from adopting or buying a dog, the proportion who said it would has risen to 61%, from 54% a month ago.

This echoes Dogs Trust’s interactions with current and future dog owners; we have seen the number of inquiries from owners needing to give up their dogs rising to its highest level since our Contact Centre opened in 2014.

Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust CEO, says:

“Economic crisis can and will lead to people having to give up their dogs because they simply can’t afford to look after them; we’ve already taken more than 15,000 handover calls this year, which is up 54% from 2021.

“We’re speaking to families being forced to make impossible choices because of their financial situations. This week one lady called us, distraught because she felt she had no choice but to give up the family dog; she was facing a decision between feeding him or her children.

“We’re helping wherever we can but, if you’re struggling with your dog because of the current squeeze on finances, get in touch before you reach crisis point. The amazing support of our donors, volunteers, foster carers and adopters has never been more critical and there are lots of ways we might be able to help.”