The true cost of loving: 17% of Yorkshire and Humber pet owners cutting back on weekly food shop to afford pet’s care
Figures from leading vet charity PDSA, which provides vital care for pets during the cost of living crisis, have revealed that 30 per cent of owners in Yorkshire and the Humber are having to make personal sacrifices to ensure they can continue to provide for their pets.
The charity has warned these unsettling findings reflect the stark reality for pet owners, many of whom are being forced to make drastic cutbacks as they desperately struggle to stay afloat.
A worrying 17 per cent of owners in Yorkshire and the Humber are cutting back on their weekly food shop, and 4% even admit to going without necessities, such as skipping meals, to afford the costs associated with looking after their beloved companions.
PDSA provides free and low-cost treatment to pets in need and has released the data to raise awareness of the lengths pet owners are having to resort to while navigating the cost of living crisis.
15 per cent of Yorkshire and the Humber owners are reducing how much fuel they use so they can pay for their pets care. This comes as Google searches for ‘save money on heating’ spiked by a shocking 878 per cent in 2022.
Having juggled expensive bills throughout winter, alongside the soaring cost of living, owners may face a further hit this April. While the energy price cap is being reduced, meaning the amount suppliers can charge goes down, government help – in the form of the energy price guarantee – is set to come to an end. This means a household's energy bills could increase by around £3,000 per year.
The looming spring Budget announcement also isn’t expected to go a long way in easing the strain on UK pet owners’ pockets. The huge hike in everyday living costs means pet owners will continue to struggle with the cost of loving their companions.
Giving up personal luxuries (15 per cent) and cancelling or not going on holidays (7 per cent) are among the other sacrifices owners in Yorkshire and the Humber are making to save as much as possible in order to continue caring for their pets.
45% of owners in Yorkshire and the Humber are worried about affording the cost of treatment if their pet should fall ill or be injured – making PDSA’s support crucial. Nationally, a quarter of all pet owners (26 per cent) said they’d go into debt, either with family and friends or via credit and loans, to cover the cost of unexpected veterinary treatment.
Yet, with 95 per cent of people are determined to do whatever possible in order to avoid having to make the agonizing decision of rehoming them or having them put to sleep – primarily due to the ever-increasing costs to live.
PDSA Veterinary Surgeon, Lynne James, said: “Everyone wants the best for their pets and hearing the lengths loving owners in Yorkshire and the Humber are having to go to so they can continue providing for them is heart-breaking.
“In 2022 we provided veterinary care for over 390,000 pets, whose owners would otherwise have struggled to afford the cost. Now more than ever, the treatment we provide is a lifeline for families who face the horrible decision of eating regular meals or treating their furry family member.
“It’s PDSA’s mission 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 aged 55 and over, and 37 per cent disabled or living with a serious health condition, their pet often provides vital companionship. For lots of our clients, their pets are their only companion, and their lives would be unimaginable without them.
“I’d encourage anyone struggling to afford the cost of veterinary treatment to find out if they are entitled to access our services by visiting the eligibility checker on our website. We also have lots of free advice on how to reduce the cost of caring for pets, while ensuring they remain healthy and happy.”
PDSA relies on donations to deliver life-saving treatment to hundreds of thousands of pets across its 48 Pet Hospitals in the UK. To help keep pets and people together, the charity is urgently calling on the public’s support to prevent vulnerable people having to make a truly heart-breaking decision. To find out more about PDSA’s vital work during the cost of loving crisis, or to donate, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/costoflovingcrisis.
How the cost of living crisis is affecting pet owners in the Yorkshire and the Humber:• 30% making personal sacrifices• 17% are cutting back on their weekly food shop• 4% going without necessities, such as skipping meals• 15% are reducing how much fuel they use• 15% giving up personal luxuries• 7% cancelling or not going on holidays• 45% worried about the cost of treatment should their pet fall ill or become injured