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Most Dog Owners Would Struggle To Pay An Unexpected £500 Vet Bill

1 year ago

13th March, 2023 13h55

Dogs Trust

New research by UK’s biggest canine charity exposes dog owners’ struggles

More than one in ten (13%) dog owners said they either cannot afford, or are struggling to afford, the costs of owning a dog in the current climate, shows new research by Dogs Trust.

In research carried out by You Gov on behalf of the UK’s largest canine charity, owners were asked how easy or difficult it would be to pay vet bills of varying amounts.

15% of pet owners – more than one in ten – said they would struggle to pay an unexpected vet bill of just £100, with 10% and 5% respectively saying they would find it ‘fairly difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.

The majority of dog owners - 64% - said they would find it ‘difficult’ (28% fairly difficult, 36% very difficult) to pay an unexpected vet bill of £500.

This research comes at a time when the charity is receiving record high numbers of enquiries from owners asking to hand over their dogs. It received an average of 188 handover requests per day in February, equating to more than 5,000 (5,566) handover requests last month.

This is an increase of 33% on the average of 141 handover requests per day in 2022, which was itself a record-breaking year in terms of relinquishment enquiries, ending in over 50,000 for the year.

In response, Dogs Trust is doing all it can to keep dogs at home with the people who love them. It has set up dog food banks at some of its rehoming centres across the UK, which are open to anybody having trouble stretching to a canine mouth to feed. The charity is also offering a discounted rate on its Dog School training classes, to help owners who might be experiencing behavioural problems.

Dogs Trust is also asking the Government to do its bit by pausing the VAT on pet food and veterinary services. It is asking people to sign its petition asking The Chancellor to Paws the VAT and, when pet owners were asked, as part of this week’s poll, to what extent they would support or oppose the Chancellor removing VAT from vet care and pet food in next Wednesday’s budget, 61% said they would support it, with 36% of those saying they would strongly support it.

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, says:

“We may be slowly emerging from winter and into brighter times, but the situation for dog owners only seems to be getting worse. The majority of dog owners now say they’d struggle to pay an unexpected vet bill of £500 and at Dogs Trust, we’re receiving an astronomical number of calls from desperate owners who feel they simply can’t keep their dogs.

“With the majority supporting a cut in VAT on vet care and pet food to help them through the crisis, I reiterate our call to the Chancellor – please help our dog loving nation so that we don’t have to see more households lose their beloved pets.”

People can sign Dogs Trust’s petition to Paws the VAT here.

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

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