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As Blue Monday Strikes, Dog Owners Worry For The Year Ahead

3 months ago
501 views

Posted
18th January, 2024 21h37

Author
Dogs Trust


On Blue Monday, reputed to be the most depressing day of the year (Monday 15 January 2024), Dogs Trust releases more results from its most recent National Dog Survey, which spell out loud and clear UK dog owners’ worries about caring for their beloved pets.

The second ever National Dog Survey – the largest ever survey of the UK’s dog owners -generated responses from almost a quarter of a million people, about nearly 350,000 dogs*. The results show that, following the Covid boom in dog ownership, the cost-of-living crisis has left many owners now struggling to provide for their dogs’ needs, from food and veterinary care to finding affordable dog-friendly rental accommodation.

The survey also highlights how owners are cutting back on essentials, such as training classes. Dogs Trust is urging people to ensure their dogs are properly trained, as unwanted behaviours are a common reason cited when owners give up their dogs. The charity’s new Behaviour Support Line, which offers free expert advice, plus discounted behaviour training, can support owners in this area, and help set-up a dog for success.

Everyday costs are biting

In the past year over 45,000** owners enquired about giving up their dogs to Dogs Trust. The National Dog Survey responses suggest that the current cost of living has been a major contributing factor.

Nearly a fifth of respondents (19%) said they may have to consider changing to cheaper pet food in the coming year. Four in ten owners (39%) said they may have to reduce paid-for care during their working hours to save money, and others said that paid-for dog walking (35%) might need to be scaled back, as well as toys and enrichment (35%).

Many Dogs Trust rehoming centres are supporting owners by offering free dog foodbanks. For a full list of dog foodbanks visit: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/our-centres/dog-food-bank

Cutting back on essentials

Worryingly, dog training classes might also be something owners cut back on, according to 31%. With behaviour cited as one of the top reasons for people having to give up their dog to Dogs Trust, this is of real concern to the charity which, in response, has launched discounted services to support those who may struggle to afford training and behaviour services*.

Another worry is the fact that around 1 in 7 (14%) of respondents said they would consider skipping non-emergency vet care, which could result in longer-term problems.

Fortunately, though, only 6% of respondents who had it said they’d cut back on health insurance. Regular prevention treatments also remained a priority, with just 3% saying they might cut back flea and tick treatments, 3% on vaccines and 2.5% on worming.

Biggest worry – vet bills

The majority of survey respondents rated veterinary bills as the dog-related cost pressure they were most worried about. This was followed by pet insurance, dog food, and dog-minding costs.

Less likely to get a new dog

The cost of getting a new dog was also on people’s minds. When asked whether they thought the rising cost of living would impact their decision to get another dog within the next year, 60% of dog owners who were considering getting another dog said that yes, it would impact their decision (with 40% saying it was now much less likely, and 20% saying it was slightly less likely).

Owen Sharp, CEO of Dogs Trust, says:

“The results of our National Dog Survey spell out, loud and clear, how dog owners are impacted by the ongoing increased cost of living. The survey shows the extent of people’s worries about the inflated cost of basics like feeding their dog or having someone look after their dog while they’re at work - never mind the fear of unexpected costs like vet bills.

“It’s our hope that the next National Dog Survey, which we’ll run in May this year, might show that the pressure is finally starting to lift. Until then, Dogs Trust can help dog owners in need in a number of ways during times of financial trouble, including supporting owners with pet food banks and discounted behaviour training, and a free Behaviour Support Line.”

Dogs Trust’s Contact Centre can be contacted Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm on 020 7837 0006 or at [email protected]


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