Vienna, 24 November 2022 – As living costs are rising in Europe and beyond, many pet owners are facing financial hardship. Some of them are taking the difficult decision to surrender their pets to animal shelters, or even worse, to abandon their pets. Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS offers advice on how to cut costs but still ensure that pet owners are able to properly care for their pets during these difficult times.
Many animal shelters in Europe are already overcrowded and have limited resources to cope with the increased intake of animals needing to be rehomed. Therefore, it is more crucial than ever to comprehensively consider the long-term responsibilities before getting a pet.
Adopting or buying a pet is a responsibility that lasts for the pet’s entire life, typically for the maximum life expectancy of the animal. People who take a dog, cat or another pet into their family have a duty of care towards their pet and must be able to afford that care during the pet’s lifetime. Owning a pet means covering the costs of food and accessories, as well as regular veterinary care and preventive measures.
FOUR PAWS advises pet owners to tackle rising costs by considering a number of tips:
Research food alternatives and promotions for lower food costs
Researching which shops and stores, including online stores, are selling pet food, treats, or health care goods with a discount, can save money, especially when stocking up in bulk for the long run. If stored well, these products do not spoil easily. Expensive food also does not always necessarily equal high quality, therefore comparing pet food brands and their labels to find one that provides the optimal nutrition for one’s pet can also reduce costs.
Get a pet health insurance to minimise the financial risk
If a pet is injured or suddenly falls ill, the owners may be faced with unexpectedly high veterinary costs. With pet health insurance, pet owners can protect themselves from financial burden in case of high veterinary costs. Pet health insurance is available in different price categories, so it helps to research which pet health insurance is best considering individual needs.
Additionally, it is also worth researching organisations that may have promotions for free veterinary consultations if owners are concerned about their pet’s health. Preventive check-ups and regular vaccination boosters should not be skipped as this could be putting the animal’s health at risk.
Toys and enrichment do not have to be expensive
While it is good to keep pets entertained, it is not necessary to buy expensive toys or equipment. There are even many online resources about how to make low cost enrichment that keeps pets entertained. Also, instead of investing in new toys, owners can invest, if possible, in spending more time to play or train their pet. Search games or practising new tricks can strengthen the bond between owner and pet.
Save on pet sitting and dog walking costs
Dog or cat sitters as well as dog walkers can be expensive. In communities with multiple dog or cat owners, reaching out to the neighbours might benefit everybody: The pet owners can try setting up a community group that looks after each other’s pets. That way, they know their pet is well taken care of.
Abandoning a pet should never be an option
The impact of surrendering a pet to a shelter, or worse still, abandoning a pet, has a huge impact on both the animal and the owner. Taking animals away from their familiar environment and family and bringing them to a shelter is a stressful and traumatic experience for them. If owners are facing financial hardship they should seek advice and help from animal welfare organisations, vets, friends and family, their local community and the authorities. Even if the financial burden seems too great, abandoning one’s pet should never be an option.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org