According to a research conducted by UK Pet Food and accessed by GlobalPETS, the number of small mammals has increased by 50%. In detail, 16.2 million households own 38 million pets this year.  

Although, the number of pets increased by 9% compared to last year, the number of British households with pets decreased from 17.4 million in 2021.

“Throughout the pandemic, we saw an increase in people adding a pet to their family as they sought the amazing companionship a pet can bring. Today, owners are clearly impacted by the cost of living, and sadly relinquishment figures are high,” explained Nicole Paley, Deputy Chief Executive of UK Pet Food.

29% of respondents answered that they think about the costs of a lately bought pet which might be explained by the decreasing population of dogs (12 million) and cats (11 million).

According to the research, the population of small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters increased by 50% in one year, bringing the number to 5 million (6.7% of all pets). In 2022, the number of small animals was 1.7 million.

Paley stated, that these numbers show that pet parents think those small animals are easier to handle in costs and exposure. “Although pets bring huge joy to a household, they also come with a huge responsibility, and it is so important to understand the care and cost implications – whatever the size of your pet.”

The research also showed that 13% of UK households decided to hand over a pet last year, the number was even higher, 28%, among younger pet parents.

This decision was based on the current the cost-of-living crisis, as 30% of millennials and Gen Z pet parents acknowleged.

With 47% dogs accounted for the highest number of relinquished pets, %), but closely followed by cats (36%), indoor birds (12%), rabbits (8%), and Guinea pigs (6%).

20% of all respondents also said that they had to reduce expenses for pet insurance, vets, and pet food. Among younger pet owners, 25% acknowledged lower expenses.

Nevertheless, around 50% of UK pet parents stated that pets contribute to their mental health. Among older pet owners the percentage was even higher (60%).

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