Research highlights concern over Britain’s homeless pets


25 January 2022
Mars Petcare’s first-ever State of Pet Homelessness Index has revealed an estimated 1.1 million dogs and cats in the UK are currently living in shelters or on the street.

The research, undertaken in partnership with an advisory board of leading animal welfare experts, found that almost two thirds (61 per cent) of pet owners are worried there will be more homeless pets post-pandemic than ever before.

Potential barriers to rehoming a dog or cat, such as prohibitive rental agreements, stigmas attached to adopting certain breeds, and negative perceptions of rescue animals and strays, are also highlighted in the report.

Based on data from more than 200 local and global sources, the Index includes nine countries — the UK, USA, India, Mexico, Germany, Russia, South Africa, China, and Greece — and is the first methodological measure of pet homelessness.

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“We’ve worked for years to address pet homelessness in pursuit of our purpose: ‘A Better World For Pets’, implementing a wide range of programmes, including responsible pet owner education, challenging misconceptions around shelter adoption, and providing shelter support,” said Kim Smet, interim general manager at Mars Petcare UK, which is taking the first steps to end pet homelessness by 2030 via its Adoption Mission, championed by Pedigree and Whiskas, in which more than three million meals will be donated to UK rescue centres in 12 months.

● To find out more about the State of Pet Homelessness Index and existing programmes addressing the pet homelessness problem, visit or follow the conversation on social media using #EndPetHomelessness.