When things are tight, pet care is often one of the first things that families are forced to cut back on.
A recent report released by the RSPCA, found that a third of pet owners were worried about being able to afford to properly care for their pet.
In the past few years, many owners have had to take the hard decision to surrender their pets. Some because they had to return to their workplace following the pandemic, more recently, however, because they can’t afford to care for their pets.
The number of calls for help we have received has gone up dramatically and so, the team has decided to put together a few ideas to help pet owners on a tight budget.
-Fat-free Greek yoghurt is versatile and cheap. It can be used in Kongs, Lickimat or, for an even more budget-friendly alternative, fill an ice cube tray with yoghurt and some of your dog’s food or fruit.
-Enjoy baking? Bake homemade dog treats. We love this recipe.
-Carrots are a great low-cost healthy treat. Cut them in small chunks and use them as training treats or you could give your dog a whole carrot (appropriate size for the dog) as a chew! It’s great for their teeth and allows the dog to perform natural chewing behaviours.
It can be tempting to buy cheaper dog treats, however, these tend to be poor quality. Search for treats with a high percentage of meat or fish.
Basic training is a great way to mentally tire a dog and expand on their skills and knowledge. It’s also a fun activity for both you and your dog, which will promote a strong owner-dog relationship.
Use an old towel to create a towel wrap. Place the towel on the floor, sprinkle your dog’s meal or treats in there, and then roll or fold it up. Your dog will then move the towel around, dig, bite, and lick the towel to get the food out. This is a great way to get a dog to use all instinctive behaviours and to slow their eating habits down to make them feel fuller!
Once you’ve finished reading your weekly newspaper you can then give it to your dog to shred. Either on its own or you can scrunch some treats up in the newspaper for your dog to find.
At meal time, sprinkle your dog’s kibble around the garden or your house. Release your dog and leave them to sniff/hunt their food. Start off by sprinkling the food in a small radius, but once the dog becomes familiar with this, you can expand the radius and begin hiding the food in harder places to find.
This is how a dog would normally behave in the wild when scavenging for food so you’re allowing them to perform one of their most natural behaviours.
Sniffing is very tiring making this a great indoor game for rainy days.
All you need is a muffin tin and tennis balls – Place your dog’s meal or treats in the holes of the muffin tin then place tennis balls over the top. Allow your dog to sniff around and work out how to get the tennis balls off to get the treat!
Place treats in the water bottle without a lid and watch your dog move the bottle around to dispense the treats! Take the bottle away if they start chewing it so the plastic doesn’t hurt their teeth or gums.
Hide toys, treats or even people around the house and teach your dog a ‘find it’ command. Give them lots of praise when they find what they were looking for.
“The cost of living crisis is the biggest single threat to pets in the UK today. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
Emma Slawinski, Director of Advocacy and Policy, RSPCA
If you are struggling to pay for your pet
-Reach out to friends or family for help
-Speak to your vet about available assistance
-Visit your local food bank
-Reach out to your local rescue
So far this year, CDCH has rescued 155 animals in need.
But, the amount of donations is down by 31% and the costs of running the centre are increasing.
Despite this, we carry on doing all we can for our community. So far this year, we have issued 141 vet vouchers.
We also regularly donate food we can’t use to the Stroud Food Bank.
Keep up to date with the residents, events and work of CDCH.