What to do if you bought a pet during lockdown and now you can’t afford it

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Images Terry Vine/Blendfake images

As household budgets continue to shrink, many animal charities are concerned about a rise in the abandonment of confined pets. From treats to trips to the vet, the rising cost of living has left many pet owners struggling to make ends meet.

According to the Bath branch of the RSPCA, staff have witnessed owners no longer being able to pay for their animals, with 20 dogs waiting for space as they are already at full capacity.

“Pet owners are struggling with rising costs, there’s the cost of food and care and obviously unexpected vet bills as well,” Rachel Jones, who works at the house, told the BBC. “So if there’s some future way that we can support instead of animals needing to be in our care, then we really want to do that.”

If you bought a pet during the lockdown and now can’t afford to keep it, there are many ways to seek help. It can be difficult, but consider all the options you have before making a decision. Read on to find out what you can do:

1. Ask your vet for advice

Some veterinarians and animal charities can help owners who are struggling to pay their veterinary bills, either by providing part payment or by offering reduced costs. If you’re having a hard time paying for pet health costs, first have an honest conversation with your vet.

“Your vet should be able to advise you on how best to help your pet, but if they can’t, there are other options to consider depending on your circumstances and location,” says the RSPCA. “Options can sometimes be offered at a reduced cost, free through some pet insurance providers, and your vet can provide treatment directly.”

cute young golden labrador retriever dog running towards camera

Photography Jacky Parkerfake images

two. Look for local animal organizations and charities for help.

With the cost of living continuing to rise in the UK, dog owners may find it difficult to pay for veterinary treatments, dog sitters or even food. If you need extra help, there are local animal organizations and charities that offer help to those who are struggling.

These include

  • The PDSA offer free or subsidized treatment for homeowners who receive certain benefits (such as the housing benefit or municipal tax support), or who are within the coverage area of ​​a PDSA hospital or clinic
  • The RSPCA can provide reduced veterinary costs to pet owners who meet its criteria
  • the blue cross provides means-tested support to low-income families living in the catchment area of ​​its clinics
  • Dog owners can turn to the Dogs Trust for free and subsidized treatment if they are homeless or have a housing crisis. Dogs that are part of the plan are entitled to free flea and parasite treatments, vaccinations, neutering and microchipping. The Dogs Trust will also fund the most essential and emergency treatment the dog may need.
    dog at the vet

    Sebastian Condreafake images

    3. Find your local pet food bank

    Pet food banks provide a supply of free pet food to people in financial difficulty. Most pet food banks (or collection points at local supermarkets) will offer owners the opportunity to pick up supplies, including bags of food for dogs, cats and smaller household pets, canned pet food, wet bags , pet accessories such as warm beds and blankets. and pet cleaning products.

      Food banks include:

      • Your local Pets at Home store
      • The RSPCA Wimbledon, Wandsworth and Sutton branch.
      • In Scotland, it is The Pet Food Bank.
      • Check social media pages, like Facebook, to see if anyone in your local area has opened a food bank.

        4. Avoid home remedies

        “While we understand that people believe they are trying to help their animals by trying to treat them at home, what may work for a human is often not suitable for pets and can even be toxic. Your pet may end up needing treatment More expensive”. says RSPCA Chief Veterinarian Caroline Allen.

        “Help and guidance is available on the RSPCA website on common ailments seen in pets, but your first contact with any concerns should always be your vet – explain your situation to them and in many cases they should be able to provide you with a variety of options. .”

        If you think you may need to put your dog up for adoption, call the Dogs Trust or the RSPCA first. They will offer advice and help you make alternative arrangements if they can.

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