IN a recent RSPCA poll, seven in ten pet owners said they were worried about the cost of caring for their animals with a further fifth saying they were concerned about how they would afford to feed them. Worrying statistics but sadly not surprising in the current climate.

You may wonder why South Hams District Council are discussing the welfare of pets. You’d be surprised that the all-round health and wellbeing of residents is one of their corporate themes and therefore a concern for them.

They know how much comfort animals can bring, especially in these challenging times. It can be especially difficult if you’re struggling to pay for the cost of food or healthcare for pets through unexpected illness or injury.

However, there are various agencies out there available to offer their support. Your local food bank often has a supply of dog and cat food and you can find a list of them on our Support Directory here:

Cllr Nicky Hopwood, South Hams District Council, Executive Member for Cost of Living, said: “As an animal-lover myself, I know how important it is to make sure that your animals are well cared for. It can be stressful if you feel like you’re struggling to make ends meet. Our Support Directory can offer some solutions through the various agencies available who can help you when things are tough.

“We’re working shoulder to shoulder with Citizens Advice and a number of food banks to ensure that your loved ones, human or animal, have what they need during this crisis.

“We are working closely with Citizens Advice South Hams, on the Cost of Living crisis, and they can offer information on money, budgeting and debt, as well as a host of other information.“

You can get information on their website:, in-person or by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm on: 0808 278 7948.

Citizens Advice South Hams Chief Executive, Janie Moor, said: “We know how much pets mean to many of the people who seek our help. Our advisers will look at any options available to increase your income by helping you with a household budget and any benefits or charitable assistance you might be entitled to which might help meet the costs of pet ownership.”

Citizens Advice also has information about consumer problems with vets; they offer the following advice on their website.

Founded in 1917, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) is the country’s leading vet charity. They ensure that people who, through no fault of their own, can’t afford to pay for veterinary care for their beloved pets still have somewhere to go for help and treatment.

Their Pet Care scheme is run with partner veterinary practices, allowing you to pay a small monthly amount to get access to low-cost treatments for cats and dogs, along with other help to keep your pet healthy.

To qualify for the Pet Care Scheme you must live within the postcode catchment area of one of their practices Pet Care Scheme, and be receiving of at least one of the listed benefits.

Find out more here:

The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) has a dedicated page on their website for the Cost of Living crisis, with tips on how to save money, pet insurance, making your own treats, DIY games to entertain your pets amongst other subjects.

As well as a helpline to their advice team, so it is well worth a look. If you do not have internet access, you can call their Advice Team from Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm on: 0300 123 0650.

If you have any other top tips for pet care and cost of living support, please drop them a line via the Council’s social media accounts. #SHDC #CostOfLivingPets