How do dog and cat owners cope with inflation? - THECHOWANIECS.COM

How do dog and cat owners cope with inflation?

The Toulouse ATPA-SPA is facing a very large wave of animal abandonment.
The Toulouse ATPA-SPA is facing a very large wave of animal abandonment. (©Illustration / Wikipedia))

Many everyday products are affected by rising prices and food for our pets don’t escape it. In question, the price of raw materials which exploded, in particular that of cereals and gas, but also the avian flu pandemic which caused the slaughter of millions of poultry.

“We are seeing a price increase of around 8.8% over one year on dog and cat food on the shelves”, noted a few days ago on Actu.frMyriam Qadi, in charge of studies at NielsenIQ, the reference panelist on sales in supermarkets.

While monthly food consumption fluctuates between 2 and 3 kg of food for cats and 10 kg on average for dogs, according to data from the Ministry of the Economy, and one in two French households has at least a pet, the question of the price of kibble is not insignificant. So how do owners manage to assume these (heavy) charges?

The solution for kibble stocks…

“They are tightening their belts on other expenses,” responds to René Michau, the president of Prodaf (the Syndicate of Pet Professionals), citing a study by Harris Interactive last November which stated that “three quarters (74%) of French people were of the opinion that an animal needs to be spent on it”.

The owners say they are ready to make sacrifices, rather than to touch the habits of their animals. Mentalities have evolved, the animal is a full member of the family and the owners are looking for the best for him. The opportunity also for more structural changes with 37% preference for made in France.

Rene MichauPresident of Prodaf (union of pet professionals)

Faced with packets of kibble for small dogs weighing 8 kilos at around 40 euros in 2019 now displayed at 55 euros, pet owners are nevertheless looking for solutions and are increasingly flocking to e-commerce sites which can deliver stock.

A good plan, often, provided you can keep them: keep the packet of croquettes closed, away from moisture and light so that the food does not deteriorate. In summary, the idea is to open these packets as little as possible to prevent oxidation from impacting the nutritional quality.

“E-commerce sites are not necessarily cheaper than physical stores. On the other hand, they make it possible to have better visibility and to compare products and prices more easily”, comments for the 30 Million Friends Foundation, which “systematically” reminds each adopter that the budget to be devoted to their animal “is not fixed and fluctuates in particular according to the size of the animal (for dogs), its age and state of health.

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Health insurance too…

Many professionals are therefore worried about the use of poorer quality kibble for financial reasons, which could be counterproductive for the masters because it would (also) increase the bill for veterinarians… which is also increasing.

The prices of the main veterinary procedures have increased by 2.32% between 2021 and 2022, according to a survey by the advice site for animal owners The Unleashed Mammoth, an average that hides strong disparities between cities. Here again, a solution can be profitable to reduce costs: insurance.

“While today only 5% of pet owners say they have taken out health insurance for their pet, this solution appeals to nearly half of them (47%), and even more among 18-24 year olds. years (73%),” notes René Michau. Definitely a lead.

Veterinary schools…

If animals entail incompressible expenses, necessarily impacted by inflation, associations and veterinarians are increasingly worried that individuals with the lowest incomes will thus begin to question the relevance of certain treatments, or even to give up. their animals.

The 30 Millions d’Amis Foundation, for example, has entered into a partnership with the National Veterinary School of Alfort (in Maisons-Alfort in the Val-de-Marne) in order to allow the poorest people – not subject to income tax income, RSA beneficiaries – to provide for the care of their animal. A scholarship granted by the Foundation allows them to benefit from a 50% reduction on the preferential rate charged by the school.

Regarding care, it is indeed possible to contact veterinary schools when they exist near you. This economic trick allows you to call on apprentices who need to practice, but there are few national schools: Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne), Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), Nantes (Loire-Atlantique ) and Lyon (Rhone).

The legal department receives more reports for lack of care (negligence) for which the persons concerned invoke the economic context to justify a lack of identification, vaccination update or veterinary care to be carried out (including an operation).

The 30 Million Friends Foundation

And the second-hand market…

For now, therefore, lovers of our four-legged friends in France would mostly choose to arbitrate their budget in other areas and share their tips.

Buy your kibble wholesale, but above all bet on a good diet so as not to have to pay veterinary fees, also ask your butcher about the surpluses he has left once the meat has been cut to reduce costs or even bet on the second hand.

Vinted, the resale site between individuals has understood this and has just launched a new category, dedicated to pets, to find toys, blankets, bowls, collars or even clothes for dogs and cats.

Dropouts on the rise, because of inflation?

The abandonment of pets has increased by 24% in the United Kingdom, the animal protection society (RSCPA) was alarmed at the end of August. This reported on 22,908 dropouts pets between January and July 2022, compared to 18,375 for the same period last year.

According to the RSPCA, this increase in abandonments is explained by the pandemic – many Britons had then adopted pets – and the crisis in the cost of living which is contracting the household budget. The RSPCA mentions 20% of pet owners who are afraid of having trouble feeding their dog or cat. If the 30 Million Friends Foundation does not see this trend as heavy in France for the time being, the SPA is beginning to feel it.

On TF1, the director of a refuge in Montpellier (Hérault), saturated, affirms it. In a report broadcast a few days ago, this one shows a dog in its cage: “He is 11 years old, people brought him back to us because they have no more money and cannot support to their needs,” she says.

And at the same time, she deplores a drop in adoptions: “People are wondering if it’s reasonable to take an animal when we ourselves don’t know how we’re going to be able to finish the month,” she summarizes.

Ditto in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), where the ATPA-SPA refuge says it is facing an unprecedented wave of animal abandonment and calls for help…

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