A veterinary charity says the cost-of-living crisis is forcing pet owners to make ‘personal sacrifices’

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A veterinary charity has claimed that a third of pet owners in Scotland make personal sacrifices to provide for their pets.

The cost of living crisis is forcing many pet owners to make tough choices.
The cost of living crisis is forcing many pet owners to make tough choices.

Figures from the leading veterinary charity PDSA, which provides vital care for pets during a cost-of-living crisis, reveal that 32 per cent of owners in Scotland are having to make personal sacrifices to ensure they continue to provide for their pets.

The charity warned that these alarming findings reflect the stark reality for pet owners, many of whom are forced to make deep cuts at a time when they are desperately struggling to stay afloat.

Twenty-one percent of landlords in Scotland cut back on their weekly food store, and two percent admit they go without necessities, such as skipping meals to bear the costs associated with caring for their beloved companions.

PDSA provides free, low-cost treatment to pets in need and has released the statements to raise awareness of the lengths pet owners have to go to as they navigate the cost of living crisis.

About 19 percent reduce the amount of fuel they use so they can pay for pet care. It comes as Google searches for “save money on heating” rose by a shocking 878 per cent in 2022.

After juggling exorbitant bills all winter, along with a rising cost of living, landlords could face more blows next April. While the energy price cap is lowered, which means the amount suppliers can charge decreases, government assistance — in the form of an energy price guarantee — is set to expire. This means that a household’s energy bills could increase by around £3,000 a year.

The looming spring budget announcement is also not expected to go a long way in relieving pressure on the pockets of UK pet owners. The huge rise in the daily cost of living means that pet owners will continue to struggle with the cost of loving their companions.

Giving up personal luxuries (19 per cent) and canceling or not going on holidays (nine per cent) are among the other sacrifices owners in Scotland make to save as much as possible in order to continue caring for their pets.

39 per cent of Scottish owners worry about affording treatment if their pet becomes ill or injured. Nationwide, a quarter (26 percent) of pet owners said they would go into debt, either with family and friends or on credit and loans, to cover the cost of unexpected veterinary treatment.

Lyn James, PDSA veterinary surgeon, said: “Everyone wants the best for their pets, and to hear how far loving owners in Scotland have to go to be able to continue giving them is heartbreaking.

In 2022 we provided veterinary care to more than 390,000 pets whose owners would otherwise struggle to afford the cost. Now more than ever, our treat is a lifeline for families facing the daunting decision of eating regular meals or treating their furry family members.

PDSA has treated nearly 400,000 animals in the past year.
PDSA has treated nearly 400,000 animals in the past year.

“PDSA’s mission is to keep people and pets together. Last year, we helped hundreds of thousands of families. With more than half of those who rely on our services age 55 and over, and 37% are disabled or live with a serious health condition, their pet often provides a vital companion.For many of our customers, their pet is their only companion, and their lives would be unimaginable without them.

“I encourage anyone struggling to afford veterinary treatment to find out if they are entitled to access our services with a visit Eligibility checker on our website. We also have a lot of free advice on How to reduce the cost of pet carewhile ensuring that they remain healthy and happy.”

PDSA relies on donations to provide life-saving treatment to hundreds of thousands of pets across 48 pet hospitals in the UK. To learn more about PDSA’s vital work during the cost of a love crisis, or to make a donation, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/costoflovingcrisis

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