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Looking After our Dogs in a Recession
According to a recent study I was reading about the relationship between dog ownership and mental well-being (I have fun!), one of the things that we worry about most is the ability to give our dogs the best life we can. And in a week when it has been announced that we are potentially heading into yet another recession, with potential tax rises and further austerity measures, that can feel all too familiar to many of us.
The Guardian recently reported that, in research conducted by the RSPCA, an overwhelming 78% of pet owners think the cost of living crisis will negatively affect their pets and 19% are worried about how they will afford to feed them.
So, with 34% of households in the UK counting a dog as part of their families, is it possible to look after our furry friends during a recession without scrimping on the quality of life they currently enjoy?
In short, the answer is yes! There are a number of ways we can reduce the cost of owning a dog without a reduction in their quality of life; including, but not limited to, finding cheaper insurance, choosing alternative dog-sitting options, discounted and free veterinary treatment, and making sure your dog is kept healthy as can be to avoid unwanted vets bills and higher insurance premiums.
One of the easiest ways to save money for us pet owners is to shop around for a new insurance quote. Many of us will have been sold our current insurance by our vets when we first took our puppies to get their jabs and neutering/spaying done. Vets essentially act as a broker in these situations which, in most cases, will end up in higher premiums.
As with any type of insurance it is easy to find alternatives, with comparison sites such as comparethemarket.com and moneysupermarket.com doing most of the hard work for you. Once you have found a quote on a comparison site it can also be worth getting in direct contact with the insurer to see if they can do any further discounts for you, as, in some cases, the comparison site might be taking a cut too. For more helpful info about what to look out for when insuring your pets, check out this handy series of guides from the RSPCA.
Pet Sitting/Doggy Daycare
If you spend a lot of your days away from your dog, they may need regular care from an outside source, which can be costly. Some dogs will of course need professional care due to their needs and professionals such as our very own Doggy Daycare Cornwall do offer membership plans to reduce costs.
If this is not an option in your case there are alternatives that could be cheaper or even free. There are now services such as borrowmydoggy.com that connect dog owners with trusted local dog lovers, that will look after your dog, for a small yearly fee. You might even try this yourself by reaching out to local Facebook groups, papers, newsletters or gazettes. Just make sure you do some checks before you hand over your favourite four-legged friends for the first time. Why not organise a playdate with you, your dog and the potential dog-borrower to make sure they can handle it and seem competent, beforehand?
If you are in receipt of benefits and have a pet that needs medical care or treatment, there are dozens of PDSA centres across the country that offer free and low-cost services to people in their catchment areas. They also offer a Pet Care Scheme for those people who are not local to them but are still in need of help.
These are amazing services for people who can't afford essential care for their pets and if you are one of the people who might have a little extra during these testing times there aren't many better places you could donate to.
Prevention Rather Than Cure and Food Bills
One of the biggest costs to pet owners is the food bill. Our pet’s food can cost anywhere up to £500 a year, and beyond, and during a recession, a cost like this can seem fairly burdensome. It might be tempting to opt for cheaper foods and treat options for your dogs, but, this is often a false economy. Cheaper foods will always be made from less nutritionally appropriate ingredients and as such will inevitably lead to health issues, if fed for extended periods of time, leading to potentially expensive vet bills, higher insurance premiums and, most importantly, a less happy hound.
Good quality kibbles, such as our Aflora Minster, are nutritionally complete and can cost as little as 0.44p a day, or £161 a year, depending on the size of your dog. Remember it is always prudent to feed your dogs the best you can afford, as, in the long run, it will work out cheaper.
So, if you’re worried about the potential for the recession to affect you and your pets why not try some of our cost-saving tips and make sure you and your beloved animals make it through unscathed?
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