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How to save on dog costs as more animals are re-homed

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Dogs Trust says it has received its 50,000th request to re-home a dog this year, making 2022 a record year for owners asking the charity to take in their dog.

With living costs continuing to spiral, many pet owners can’t afford to keep their animals anymore.

The UK’s largest canine welfare charity says it is the most stretched it’s been in its 131 years, dealing with an influx of dogs whose owners can no longer afford them as bills continue to skyrocket.

The Dogs Trust normally cares for about 14,000 dogs across its network of 21 rehoming centres in the UK and one in Dublin. But the charity warns that a further 350,000 dogs may need to find new homes as the cost of living continues to rise.

A poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of Dogs Trust found that a third (33%) of the UK’s dog owners are worried that, as costs continue to rise in 2023, the crisis will impact on how well they’re able to care for their dog next year.

Almost half (46%) of respondents said they had been worried about vet bills in 2022, while one in five (18%) had worried about the cost of dog food and 16% concerned about pet insurance costs.

The survey also found that more than six in 10 (62%) people who don’t currently own a dog think the rising cost of living would prevent them from getting a dog in 2023, with more than a third (36%) saying it ‘definitely would’ prevent them, and a further quarter (25%) saying it ‘probably would’.

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said: “Through our December poll, dog owners have told us they’re going to struggle this Christmas, and many more are really worried about what 2023 is going to bring.

“We’re doing as much as we can at Dogs Trust to reach out and help dog owners who have been worst hit by the crisis. We’re expanding our help and support all the time so, if you’re having a hard time looking after your dog, please reach out to us before it’s too late – there are lots of ways that we can help.

“Our utmost priority is to keep as many dogs with their families as we can – and stop people having to make that heart-breaking decision to give up their dog.”

How to cut the cost of owning a dog

  • Consider costs in advance

According to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), owning a dog will cost between £5,000 and £12,200 over its lifetime.

  • Buy pet insurance

Pet insurance might be expensive – but paying for vet’s treatment for illnesses and accidents yourself can be crippling. According to, the average pet insurance premium for a dog is about £25 a month.

  • Get help from a dog food bank

The Dogs Trust has set up temporary dog food banks at six of its 21 centres, so that dogs won’t go hungry this Christmas. Anybody who is struggling to feed their dog is invited to drop in and collect supplies.

  • Bulk buy food

There’s an enormous range of pet foods on the market, with some brands costing more than others. It’s best to buy in bulk where you can – larger bags tend to work out costing less per day than buying little and often.

  • Reduce daycare costs

Most dogs won’t like being left alone all day while you’re out at work. But doggy daycare can be expensive.

To avoid paying too much for pet-sitters or dog walkers, sign up to BorrowMyDoggy instead. It’s £44.99 for owners to join and they can find local dog lovers who are happy to walk or pet-sit dogs for free.

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