Useful information for dog owners

Information for dog owners including caring for your pet during the cost-of-living crisis

Looking after your dog during the cost-of-living crisis

Unfortunately, due to the cost of living crisis, authorities have said there has been a 24% increase in pet abandonment over the past year. 

In response to this sad news, we thought it would be useful for you to know the following:

  • Free pet nutrition consultations are often carried out in pet stores (check out Pets at Home!) Advice can be given on what food is best for your animal on a budget. Quite often, it's not the big brands that are best for your furry friends! You're also likely to receive a free food sample and discount off your next purchase. 
  • Pet food banks are a thing! The RSPCA and BlueCross have set up pet food banks across the country. Similar to human foodbanks, people can visit and pick up pet food if times are difficult. It's useful to note that many human foodbanks accept pet food donations so it's worth paying a visit!
  • You can get help and support with your vet bills. If you're worried about your bill, it's important to talk to your vet. Lots of vets offer payment plans or lower cost alternatives. It's also important to remember that there are charities who can help. The RSPCA, PDSA, The Dogs Trust, Cats Protection and our brilliant local charity - North Devon Animal Ambulance offer their support during these difficult times. If you do use their services, keep them in mind for your next fundraiser! 

    It's also good to know that it's possible to have the costs of any behavioural help needed covered by your pet insurance. Getting help from the right professional is always important and we always recommend that you find a behaviourist who is fully qualified with a level 6 (degree) or above and who is certified, as well as experienced.

  • Ditch the pet-sitter. We all know not to leave our pets at home all day on their own; professional pet-sitters and dog walkers are often a lifeline but they can be pricey. Do you have trusted friends or family who could help take care of your pet when you're on holiday or walk your dog if you're out all day? Or why not start up a responsible community group where you all help each other out with pet care? Just remember to introduce your pets to new people gradually and ensure they are comfortable with their new friends before leaving them in charge.
  • Get crafty. Pet treats and new toys can soon add up so why not get crafty and have a go at making your own at home? Enrichment is so important for every animal's wellbeing. From rabbits and hamsters to chickens and horses - the RSPCA have put together DIY guides to make your pet treats, toys and enrichment activities with items you have around the house! 

Visit the RSPCA website for more advice and support

Supporting the homeless 

Dogs on the streets is a UK, voluntary ran and not-for-profit charity dedicated to the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community. You can help by donating, leaving a donation in your will, fostering one of their dogs and volunteering. More information on this can be found on their website.

Dogs on leads

With spring hopefully just around the corner and more of us hoping to get out to different locations to enjoy walking our dogs, please remember to check whether your dog is allowed to be off lead in these locations. Many locations have signs up saying “dogs must be kept on lead” and its important to follow these rules for the safety and enjoyment of everyone. It is also important to keep your dog on lead around livestock, even if they have a good recall, particularly around sheep as many of them are heavily pregnant this time of year and can easily suffer miscarriages due to stress from being chased or injured.

Beware of dog theft

Incidences of dog theft have been increasing over the past few years, with the home and garden being the top locations for pet theft. Please be vigilant and do not leave your dog unattended in public areas.

Our dogs play such a huge part in our lives and it is important for us to offer them the same care and protection given to all family members. Whether two legs or four, we all want to be kept safe! By following these three simple steps, you can reduce the risk of theft and offer the best possible chance of being reunited with your dog should they go missing.

  • SAFE - Secure your property and garden
  • SPOTTABLE - Keep them in sight and trained to return
  • SEARCHABLE - Know what steps to take if they go missing

Top tips for dog owners

  1. Make sure your dog is microchipped - record the number and database name somewhere safe
  2. Remember to update the database when your contact details change
  3. Ensure your dog wears a collar and tag in public - postcode and phone number, not the name of the dog
  4. Avoid leaving your dog tied up and unattended in public areas
  5. Avoid letting your dog out unaccompanied
  6. Ensure your garden and other areas are properly enclosed 
  7. Be aware of things that could 'spook' or scare your dog when off the lead
  8. Report your dog lost soon as soon as you know
  9. Send us a photo and microchip number of your lost dog
  10. Consider posting the loss on social media 

Only use government approved microchip databases. You can be fined up to £500 if your dog is registered on a database that isn't recognised by the government. A list of the approved suppliers is on GOV.UK.