Brits go into debt to afford pet care as cost of living crisis hits hard

Some Britons have been forced to consider giving up‌ their pets (Ben Birchall/PA)

Due to growing financial pressures, almost one in 10 Britons are considering giving up their animalsaccording to a survey by Pets4Homes.

Currently, 62% of UK households currently own a pet, but a quarter (25%) of pet owners can no longer afford one. veterinariansand 18 percent fall into debt as a direct result of pet care.

The data is an indicator of major challenges: the personal debt of almost one in five Britons is rising as a direct result of owning a pet. The hospitality and retail sector will be hit as Britons prioritize keeping a pet above their own essentials and luxuries, and a significant minority (eight per cent ) are are actively considering abandoning their pets.

The survey (with 2,500 respondents) was conducted among Pets4Homes users in October 2022, offering insight into the attitudes and consumer habits of one of the UK’s largest online communities of pet owners. UK, as well as specific areas where they were making cuts and whether they would consider bringing more animals home.

What did the investigation find?

  • Almost one in 10 (eight per cent) of pet owners in the UK are considering giving up their pet

  • 60% of owners surveyed said they are now less likely to buy or adopt a new pet

  • 18% of Britons are already going into debt to pay for the care of their animals

  • Since the start of the crisis, 38% of pet owners have switched to cheaper pet food

  • 25% of owners said they couldn’t afford to take their pet to the vet due to cost

  • However, of those who do, 66% said they intended to stay on the same pet insurance plan.

Future impact of the cost of living crisis:

  • Underlying Britain’s love of animals, 80% of pet owners said that, if it had to be, they would put their pets’ food before themselves.

Lee Gibson, UK Managing Director of Pets4Homes, comments: “The cost of living crisis is already having a major impact on pets and their owners. Current challenges have clearly ended the pet boom adoption and the repatriation that defined the lockdown period, as the cost discourages many from looking for a new pet.

“Yet the crisis proves once again that Britain’s international reputation as an animal-loving nation is more accurate than ever. Our results reveal that the majority of pet owners in the UK Uni will do everything in their power to keep and maintain their pets: they are already cutting costs and are ready to go to extremes, if necessary.

“However, what is alarming is that owning a pet is already driving debt for some, and nearly one in 10 of us are having to consider giving up our best friends. Beyond the challenge of rehoming such a large number of animals, the psychological impact of separation from much-loved animals cannot be underestimated.