Around a fifth of pet owners in the UK have had to make cuts on pet insurance, vet visits and pet food, according to the latest data from UK Pet Food’s annual pet survey.
The vast majority of pet owners will do anything for their pets, the study noted and added that giving up a pet or making changes to their pet care routine is often a very last resort.
However, data showed that alongside a decrease of 6% in the dog and cat populations, which now stand at 12 million and 11 million, respectively, 13% of households admitted to having relinquished a pet in 2022.
This figure is higher (28%) among young owners between the age group of 16-24 years.
Close to half (47%) relinquished a dog, 36% a cat, 12% an indoor bird, 8% a rabbit, 6% a guinea pig, and 7% another pet, data showed.
Among millennials and Gen Z, 30% said that the cost-of-living crisis made them rethink pet ownership.
Impact Of Cost-Of-Living Crisis
Commenting on the findings, Nicole Paley of UK Pet Food said, "World events have had a massive impact on lifestyles over the last few years.
"Throughout the pandemic, we saw an increase in people adding a pet to their family as they sought the amazing companionship a pet can bring. Today, owners are clearly impacted by the cost of living and sadly relinquishment figures are high."
Natalie Powdrill-Wells, research officer at Woodgreen Pets Charity, added, "We are now experiencing a deluge of demand on our services, with long lists of pets waiting to come into our care as owners can sadly no longer look after them."
The number of household pets in the UK increased by 9% year on year in 2022, but the proportion of households owning a pet declined.
The preference for smaller pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, increased by 50%.
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The survey unveiled that only 29% of people considered the cost when they got a pet.
Close to one-fifth of respondents said that their pet turned out to be more expensive than they had considered.
Paley added, "The small pet population is on the up, suggesting that people believe they are more manageable and less expensive to keep.
"Although pets bring huge joy to a household, they also come with a huge responsibility, and it is so important to understand the care and cost implications – whatever the size of your pet."
© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.