Lazy Britons abandoning pets as ‘too much like hard work - disturbing trend as impulse buys end up at rescue centres

Increasing numbers of people are abandoning pets bought as impulse purchases after they discover the amount of time, money and effort to care for them, according to one of Britain’s top pet ownership websites.

According to RSPCA figures, at least 100 pets are dumped by their owners every day. Reasons cited include the expense of looking after an animal; the owners find that they are too time consuming; or they gave birth to an unexpected litter. During its lifetime, a dog or cat could cost up to £10,000 for food, care and medical treatment.

Exotic pets, which are enjoying an increase in popularity, are particularly hard-hit by abandonments, Pets4Homes.co.uk found. Buyers find that they do not have the patience and expertise for the care that their animals need, and hurry to get rid of them. In recent years, animal shelters have reported a surge in abandoned pet meerkats, whose owners found are not as ‘simples’ to care for as they thought.

“Some people don’t realise that pets are living, breathing creatures and not just another disposable consumer product,” said Mark Singleton of the Pets4Homes.co.uk pet animal classifieds and advice website, “Pets are dumped the year round, but it’s especially bad in the months following Christmas.

“Unthinking owners just aren’t getting the message.”

Pets4Homes.co.uk offers simple advice for people thinking of getting a pet: Have a trial run.

“What we’re saying is that if you’re thinking of getting an animal, try borrowing one from a friend for a few days,” said Mark Singleton. “Look after somebody’s dog or cat while they’re on holiday, or try to borrow one from friends or family for a few days.

“After a very short while, you’ll soon discover the level of commitment and care you’ll need to put into the relationship with a pet. And if it doesn’t work out for you, there’s no real damage done.”

Pets4Homes.co.uk say that there are right and wrong reasons for owning a pet. If, for example, you’re thinking of getting a dog for any of the following reasons, then you’re probably not going to enjoy the experience:

1. As personal protection or as a weapon

2. As a fashion accessory

3. Because your children are demanding one

To find out if a pet’s right for you, Mark Singleton added that the Pets4Homes website is packed with useful advice for prospective owners, as well as a thriving online community at its sister website PetForums.co.uk.

“We’ve got over 160,000 members and the level of expertise is simply astounding.

“If you’re looking into pet ownership, Pets4Homes.co.uk and the knowledgeable owners at PetForums have everything you need.”