Many of us face financial difficulties at some point in our lives. But the cost of living crisis is hitting many people especially hard, with individuals and families struggling to look after themselves – and their companion animals.
Recently, the Scottish SPCA and RSPCA released a joint report which found that almost one third of people with companion animals in the UK were worried about not being able to afford to look after them. They concluded that the cost of living crisis is the single biggest threat to companion animal welfare in the UK right now.
If you or someone you know is going through financial hardship and is struggling to care for an animal, it’s important to know that there is help available. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of places in Scotland and the UK where you can seek some support if you’re struggling financially to look after your animal companions.
A number of different animal charities offer help with vet expenses to people who need it. You will usually have to answer a few questions or complete a form to ensure you qualify for such support. Support may range from reduced veterinary costs to providing free treatment, depending on your financial situation. Local animal charities may be able to provide this service, but you can also get in touch with these larger organisations to find out how they can help you with veterinary costs:
- Cats Protection – provide vouchers towards neutering costs for students, pensioners and those who are on benefits/low incomes. You can check whether you are eligible here.
- RSPCA – provide support with vet expenses in certain areas. You can check whether you are eligible here.
- Scottish SPCA also offer reduced neutering prices. You can check whether you are eligible for reduced neutering costs here.
- PDSA – provide free vet services for those in need of financial assistance. You can check whether you are eligible here.
If you’ve had to take on extra work to make ends meet, or you already work long shifts, you might be struggling to afford to pay for someone to care for your companion animal in your absence.
BorrowMyDoggy is a great website where volunteers offer free dog care*, including walks and pet sitting. You can sign up either as a dog owner or a borrower and find people in your local area who can lend a hand…or a paw.
It’s always good to meet with a borrower a few times before leaving your companion with them to make sure they’re a good fit. Borrow My Doggy also run identity checks on borrowers before they sign up for security purposes.
*A paid membership package is also offered but is not essential to join the site. However, insurance cover is only included if both owner and borrower are premium members.
If you’re struggling to get food on the table, the Trussell Trust have a food bank locater on their website where you can find food banks in your local area. Food banks aren’t strictly just for people either – there are some great pet food banks out there where you can find necessities for your pets if you’re in need. Here are some pet food banks in Scotland:
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home – offers wet and dry food, jackets, collars, leads, bowls and bedding.
Canine Campus Pet Food Bank – collects and distributes to pets in need of additional food support in Scotland, collecting food treats and bedding for pets in need
Please do not go to a pet food bank unless it’s necessary. If you have any items which you can donate to these services, such as food and bedding, please get in touch with the organisations and see if you can arrange a collection or drop-off.