Britain's 26 million pet owners spend roughly Â£15 billion (US$24.7 billion) per year on their pets, an average of Â£11.04 (US$18.19) per pet per week, according to a recent survey. But the economic downturn has owners trying to find ways to cut costs.
According to the survey, 500,000 pet owners can no longer afford to buy food for their pet and are feeding the animals leftovers. In addition, there has been a 19% rise in stray and abandoned animals taken to shelters in the last year. Higher insurance bills and veterinarian costs have pet owners skipping the vet visit, while higher food costs also contribute to their difficulties. "We pride ourselves on being a nation of animal lovers, but the sad reality is some pet owners can either no longer afford to keep their pets or are unable to provide a suitable home for them," said Laura Sleight with the Blue Cross, an animal charity that jointly commissioned the survey with a new TV show called Pets for Life. "Animals add so much to our lives but it's important that people understand the cost, time and commitment involved."
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.