On a mission to keep pets at home and out of shelters… By providing donated pet food and pet care products to families in need.

Pet Surrenders

Creative Solutions for Pet Surrenders Due to Financial Hardships

It’s no secret that there is an overwhelming amount of animals in shelters that need homes. Every year, more than 6.3 million dogs, cats, and other pets are surrendered to shelters. Some of these shelter animals never had owners or homes to call their own, which is typical among those considered rescues. Others, though, may have been returned or given to the shelter due to their owners experiencing financial hardship. According to a study by MetLife, the average cost of owning a dog is $1,400 per year, while owning a cat costs around $1,200 per year. While one-time expenses like spaying or neutering won’t recur, other monthly expenses like food, heartworm and flea prevention, and grooming supplies can really add up. If you’re in the unfortunate position of surrendering your pet due to unaffordability, don’t hand them over just yet! There are a surprising amount of creative solutions that you can employ to help you afford your pet on a tight budget. 

Seek out pet food banks 

As every pet owner knows well, affording pet food on a monthly basis can become extremely expensive. While their dietary expenses vary depending on the pet’s size and energy level, food and treats can cost between $200 and $900 per year. This can cause significant financial strain on pet owners, which is why turning to pet food banks for free or discounted food is a great option. Getting connected with a pet food program, which is often run by animal shelters or other non-profit organizations, allows you to access free food for families in need. This can instantly help alleviate the monthly cost of food and make it more affordable to keep your pet. 

Start a community crowdfund 

There’s no shame in reaching out to people in your community for support in keeping your pet, especially if you know they’re a group of animal lovers! Starting a crowdfunding campaign in your local community to raise funds specifically for your pet’s care is another good idea to make things more affordable. Utilizing social media and crowdfunding websites for this purpose will allow you to reach more people in your network. Crowdfunding can be a hugely powerful tool in connecting with your friends, family, and compassionate community members or neighbors who will likely be willing to support your pet. 

Find temporary foster care 

Another creative solution to avoiding pet surrender is to line up a temporary foster for your pet. Finding a friend or person in the community who is willing to provide a home for the pet until your financial situation improves. With nearly 8% of all households in the United States fostering pets, and 11% of pet owners willing to foster additional pets, the odds are in your favor that you’ll be able to find temporary care.  

Inquire about discounted veterinary services & products

Since veterinary fees like annual vaccines, wellness check-ups, and flea and tick prevention are inevitable, these services are often the greatest expenses that lead to financial strain for pet owners. While the typical cost for a routine check-up is between $50 and $250, overall costs can skyrocket to $1,500 per year for services like lab tests and dental care, which some pets may need. You can always inquire with your vet about discounted services, as many offices will make accommodations for people who need assistance. Sometimes, pet stores may even offer discounted products and financial aid, with special opportunities to take advantage of seasonal or new-owner discounts as well. As the saying goes, you’ll never know if you don’t ask!  

Set up an exchange with friends or neighbors

If you work full time and struggle to find adequate and affordable pet care, you can get creative and create an exchange or bartering program with friends or neighbors. Exploring a system where you trade goods or services for pet care – such as offering to cut your friend’s lawn, shovel their driveway when it snows, or babysit their children on the weekend – could result in them being willing to babysit your dog or cat during the work week. Pet services like grooming, dog walking, and pet sitting can get extremely costly, so relying on people in your community instead who can trade these things for services you can provide is an excellent, affordable solution. 

Exploring creative alternatives before making the difficult decision to surrender your pet due to financial constraints is a wise move. With options like crowdfunding, food banks as well as temporary foster care available, you can alleviate certain costs and make it possible to keep your beloved furry friend. 

Written Briana Hilton from Agency Hook.

Photo by Bekka Mongeau

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