Following this week’s Consumer Price Index surprise increase to 4%, Dogs Trust has warned there is still a gap between inflation and what it terms ‘dogflation’; the costs associated with owning a dog.
The charity has released a report, produced with Oxford Economics, which shows the rate of increase in costs for owning a dog has outstripped economy-wide price growth since August 2022.
After dogflation outstripped CPI in every single month in 2023 – at its peak a difference of five percentage points last December – preliminary numbers from Wednesday’s CPI release suggest that dogflation is still more than double the rate of economy-wide CPI, now standing at 9% versus inflation of 4%.
The dogflation model
Following the CPI announcement earlier this week, dogflation now sits at 9% – five percentage points above the headline CPI of 4%.
This comes at a time when nearly a fifth (19%) of respondents of Dogs Trust’s National Dog Survey have said they may have to consider changing to cheaper pet food in the coming year. The majority of respondents also rated veterinary bills as the dog-related cost pressure they were most worried about. Meanwhile, Dogs Trust continues to be inundated with enquiries from owners asking to give up their dogs, with over 45,000 relinquishment enquiries in 2023, 3,277 in the last month alone.
Government must do more to help
Dogs Trust is still calling on the government to step up support for struggling dog owners. Last week it handed in its Paws the VAT petition, signed by over 100,000 people who agreed that they wanted to see the government temporarily remove the VAT on pet food and veterinary services, until Britain recovers its normal standard of living.
The charity believes this reduction in prices for pet food and veterinary services could prove critical to many dog owners, offsetting spiraling prices to help keep dog care affordable.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, says: “Our Dogflation model shows that despite the surprise rise in inflation, dog owners – a third of UK households – are still disproportionately hit by the everyday costs of owning a dog.
“As we continue to receive handover enquiries from desperate owners, our priority is to keep as many dogs with their families as we can, and we’ll continue to work with our counterparts across the animal welfare sector to try to ensure dogs won’t go hungry.
“But this burden shouldn’t sit on the charity sector’s shoulders alone. We desperately need the government to step up and play its part for this country’s 12 million dogs and their owners, by cutting the 20% VAT on pet food, at least for the time being.”