Cost of Living: Blue Cross warns crisis causing mental health problems for pet owners
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Many people decide to get a pet to increase their health and happiness, but the current cost of living crisis means pet owners are experiencing stress and impaired mental health, according to new data from national pet charity Blue Cross. A national survey was carried out in January 2023 revealing 32% of pet owners in England said the cost-of-living crisis had a negative impact on their mental health.
The survey found 20% of people admitted to having been unable to pay for a vet bill over the previous three months. Almost 22% felt they would be unable to afford food for their pets in the near future.
Pet owners were also asked to give three reasons for welcoming a pet into their lives. Around half said “wanting a pet to care for” was one of their reasons, while another half cited companionship.
However, 42% of pet owners said the increased cost-of-living crisis made it difficult to own a pet. Chris Burghes, CEO of Blue Cross, said: “As an organisation, we recognise the huge pressure the cost-of-living crisis is having on all areas of people’s lives. We are doing everything we can to support pet owners, whether that is through our clinical or behaviour services or through our network of pet food banks.
“Blue Cross has a growing number of pet food banks, where struggling owners can get free food for their pet companions. Some of our pet food banks have volunteer drivers who can deliver to pet owners who are unable to travel, and we are even able to cater for some special diets. We also provide free and reduced cost vet care to pets whose owners are on certain means-tested benefits.”
Blue Cross sends pet food to those in need
Blue Cross is currently sending pet food from 13 of its sites directly to owner’s in need. The charity is also taking donations of pet food at 33 of its sites and 97 Pets at Home stores, working with local foodbanks to distribute to owners in need.