The UK Pet Food, formerly the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, has published its annual report, determining the country’s pet ownership and the effect of pet parents in these days.

In numbers, 16.2 million (57%) of UK households has owned a pet in January 2023 leading to a total of 38 million pets in the UK. While the number of pets has increased by 9% in 2022, the association has discovered a decline in the proportion of pet owning households.

In 2023, Britains favourite pet is the dog (12 million), followed by cats (11 million), rabbits (1.5 million), indoor birds (1.3 million), guinea pigs (1 million), domestic fowl (1 million), hamsters (900,000), turtles (900,000), lizards (800,000), and snakes (700,000).

Dog and cat population has fallen a combined 6% whereas smaller pet ownership has increased. According to the report, the reliquishment of pets also increased.

“World events have had a massive impact on lifestyles over the last few years,” stated Nicole Paley, deputy CEO of communications and animal welfare at UK Pet Food. “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.

“The small pet population is on the up suggesting that people believe they are more manageable and less expensive to keep,” Paley continued. “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.”

“Startlingly, we discovered that only 29% of people considered the cost when they got a pet,” Paley said. “Almost one fifth (18%) admitted that a pet was more expensive than they had considered. This figure rises to 23% among the youngest owners, and families are also impacted with 15% of those with children finding it tough.”

However, a majority of pet parents sees relinquishment as last resort which leads to a proportion of 20% of pet owners who needed to reduce the costs for pet food, insurance, and veterinary.

“There is a need to raise awareness amongst potential owners on the financial responsibilities of pet ownership — whilst supporting all the amazing owners who are struggling. In times of crisis, many pet owners do not have a choice,” she explained.

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