Pet ownership could halve by the end of the decade

Many of us have fantastic childhood memories of our cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and other furry animals who were by default the extended members of our families. And any loyal follower of MedicAnimal will know what a delight our pets are, offering love and affection, companionship, stress reduction, and they can even look out for our physical health.

Sadly it seems however that in the recent times, the number of people who have the pleasure of owning a pet has fallen. In 1999 a satisfying 55% of households in the UK owned a pet of some type, backing the strong belief that pet ownership is good for your mental and physical wellbeing. But in 2015, that number declined to 46%, and over the last 3 years alone we have seen the number of pets owners in the UK drop by a whopping 10 million: numbers in 2013 stood at 69 million, and have fallen to 58.4 million in 2015.

So what’s causing this sudden decline in animal companionship? Andrew Bucher, the Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal sheds some light onto the situation:

While there are many factors that contribute to the decline in ownership levels, such as a rise in the number of people living in rental accommodation, there are definitely signs that pet ownership is seen as less affordable than now than it has been in previously.

But surely, pet ownership shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury, Andrew argues. Yes, pets require financial management but providing that the responsible owners budget and purchase the correct insurance for their pets, bringing a delightful furry friend into your life shouldn’t break the bank.  


So what advice does Andrew Bucher offer to new pet owners to manage the costs?

Shop Online

Pet supplies can be up for 30% cheaper if you buy them online, and when it comes to shopping for pet food, buying in bulk can help you save and work out cheaper in the long run. Some medication can be cheaper to buy online too if you have the right prescriptions from your vet.


Insuring your pet can be a lifeline for them when they fall ill. It’s best to get insurance before they are 7 years old, because many insurance companies may turn down an older pet. Premiums can vary depending on where you live, and bear in mind that pre-existing medical conditions may not be covered.

Open a savings account

Having a separate account can help you manage your pet budget, and can be a last resort should anything go wrong. If you can’t afford pet insurance up front, putting aside around £50-70 each month could save you if you’re caught off guard by a medical emergency.

Don’t forget the vet

Prevention is always better than cure. Quite often pets are brought into the vet and are sadly put down after a small, preventable problem spirals out of control. Neutering/ spaying your pet can also save a lot of money in the long run in avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

Ask for help

While it’s compulsory as of April 2016 to chip your dogs, there are some charities out there including the Dogs Trust who will chip your dog for free. If you’re receiving certain benefits and find yourself unable to meet the cost of vet bills, the PDSA may be able to help for poorly pet through their vet services scheme which covers most household pets.


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  1. Most new build of property in the UK, particularly flats, comes with a no pet rule. I have visited many around London and been told this.

  2. When people downsize when, say, they get to their 70s, it is difficult to find flats that will accept animals. So many older people would love to have the companionship of a dog, cat or even a budgie. In our area bungalows are being refurbished to become large houses, which doesn’t help the situation.

  3. The answer is very simple. We are an ageing population and there comes a point where replacing a dearly loved pet with a new companion requires much soul searching. I am 73 and the wife 62, our two Cockers are both 7 and going on the lifespans of our particular breeding, I expect at least another 6 years active companionship. At 80 I think replacement will need careful consideration (if I live that long) – who will look after my animals after my death? This is the major and really only factor in my considerations. Yes cost is a factor, but very small beer compared with what a pet gives in return.

  4. This is an interesting (though saddening) article. It’s ridiculous that so few landlords allow pets, yet across the Channel it’s often the rule that pets are allowed in a rental property. I’m curious to know, is there a corresponding drop in the numbers of cats, dogs and other domestic animals nationwide, or have animal shelter charities been overwhelmed?

  5. My poor maltese pup pup was scalded at the vets while she was being neutered third degree burns .took a fortnight of agony before they admitted a hot water bottle had burst during the op .they got away with it animals can not get compastatiom nobody lost there job such heartache even the London vetenary hospital did not help no more pets it’s a money making racket .

  6. Vets bills are becoming ridiculous. I realise that vets take years to qualify & are usually excellent, but I wonder sometimes if they only see money when someone like us walk through the door with 2 siamese cats.(Rescued) I might add.

  7. When I go for a walk with my dog, people, parents, either take a wide berth or even drag their children away. At schools children are told to keep away from dogs, also lots of land is being built on and there is nowhere to take your dogs

  8. My rescue collie is coming up to 12 years old, she is the last dog I will ever have. Vets consultation charges have soared and charge double the online price for medication. Yet the prescription charge makes online purchase non viable. I have no time for PDSA they only help welfare willies many whom seem to afford vast sums to purchase a a dog but can’t maintain it. Many years ago we had small children and very little money. PDSA refused to help as hubby worked. I tried seeking PT employment to no avail and so had to part with my beloved most fantastic dog and I’ve never really got over that.

  9. My save collie is coming up to 12 years of age, she is the last puppy I will ever have. Vets discussion charges have taken off and charge twofold the online cost for drug. However the remedy charge makes online buy non practical. I have no time for PDSA they just help welfare creeps numerous whom appear to bear the cost of limitless entireties to buy an a pooch yet can’t look after it. Numerous years back we had little youngsters and next to no cash. PDSA declined to help as hubby worked. I took a stab at looking for PT work without much of any result thus needed to part with my cherished most incredible canine and I’ve never truly got over that.

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