Years of austerity take their toll on companion animals as well as humans.
Successive PAW Reports from the PDSA have shown that most owners grossly underestimate the cost of keeping a pet, with 62% of dog owners having unrealistic expectations. 16% of them purchased a dog because their children demanded it.
Of the people in the lowest third of national income levels:
12% have not registered with a vet
24% have not neutered
37% have not vaccinated
40% have not followed up with boosters
33% have not de-wormed – some of the 67% that have will have used largely ineffective over the counter products
22% have not de-flead- again, some of those who have will have use effective products
61% are not insured.
Food banks are now being opened up to provide pet food. Owners may compromise on the quality of diet provided because they do not want to pay more or because of the need to budget. Either way, dogs may be being fed a poor diet, which of course makes it more likely that they may become unwell, leading to requirements for further expenditure.
Not for nothing has the PDSA labelled companion animals the “silent victims of poverty”.