Rehoming slows amid cost-of-living crisis

New data reveals more pets are being relinquished to shelters at a time when fewer animals are being rehomed.

Post-lockdown lives coupled with the cost-of-living crisis has resulted in an increase in dogs and cats being given up for adoption, as well as a decrease in people looking to adopt.

The RSPCA found that, in 2021, rehoming dropped eight per cent while animal intake is up 8.4 per cent year-on-year.

The pandemic has been cited as a reason for the number of pets being given up.

While many families believed lockdown was an ideal time to add a pet to their household, some have found that their pets don’t fit into their lives post-lockdown.

Additionally, some puppies and kittens born during lockdown suffered from a lack of training and social exposure, leading to behavioural problems.

Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA’s pet welfare expert, said:  “It’s really concerning to see that animals are staying in our care for longer and that fewer are being rehomed year-on-year.

“Unfortunately, we believe we’re really starting to see the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Many of the animals - particularly dogs - who are coming into our care have behavioural challenges, which could be linked to how they were bred as well as lockdown limiting the amount of training, socialising, and outside-world experience they had.”

The charity has also attributed the ongoing cost-of-living crisis as a major reason why families are giving up their pets, as they cannot afford to look after them any more.

At the same time, fewer families are considering welcoming a new pet into their homes due to the cost of pet care.

As a result, more pets are being given up to charities without enough families available to rehome them.

The RSPCA’s Animal Kindness Index, released earlier this year, found that 68 per cent of pet owners were concerned about the increasing cost of pet care, while 19 per cent were worried about being able to afford to feed their pets.

At a time when families are cutting back on food and millions are intending to spend less on Christmas presents, the extra cost of looking after a pet is out of reach for many.