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10 UK Pet Adoption Statistics & Facts to Know in 2022

pet adoption

This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, you may want to know more about the animal adoption facts first to help make an informed decision.

When we look at the year 2021, we can look forward to a future where we have ensured that animal welfare is improved. Animal adoption statistics in the UK show there is an increasing number of animals being adopted.

It means that each year there’ll be higher numbers of animals finding homes. It’s because of awareness being raised about this crucial issue.

In this guide, we’ll give you a range of interesting animal adoption statistics and facts, including:

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The 10 Most Common UK Pet Adoption Statistics & Facts

  1. Adopting a dog could save you up to £364 over buying from a breeder.
  2. It costs £1,835 on average to keep an animal for its entire life span compared to the £200 cost of adoption from many organizations.
  3. Private rescue services charge an adoption fee ranging from £40-£500. Most public organizations charge nothing.
  4. The number of animals adopted each year in the UK is approximately 1.5 million.
  5. For every dog adopted from a shelter, an average of 4 to 6 dogs are saved from euthanasia
  6. Two-thirds of animals adopted from shelters are kittens and cats under the age of 5 years.
  7. The number of dogs being adopted has increased by 5%, while that of cats being adopted has an increase of 2%
  8. Adopted cats live about 12 years on average with their new families.
  9. In the UK, home checks are carried out to ensure that the adopter can provide a suitable home for an animal.
  10. 33% of people who have owned a dog for over one year adopted it from a shelter or rescue organization.
UK animal adoption statistics
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The Cost of Adopting Animals

1. Adopting a dog could save you up to £364 over buying from a breeder.

(PETCARE)

Normally, if you buy an animal from a breeder, you purchase a newborn. We are looking at the cost of purchasing as well as the cost of supplies needed to take care of it until its old enough. This cost is quite high when compared to buy/adopting from a shelter.

When you look at the adoption vs breeder statistics, adopting an animal is cheap. A dog from a rescue center comes spayed or neutered. Also, it’s microchipped, vaccinated, and wormed. It means that no unexpected costs will occur when adopting a rescue dog.

The dog will not have similar requirements as a puppy. So, you don’t have to factor in any extra costs associated with increasing your living space or having more time off work for house training.

adopted dog in sand
Image Credit: pavlinas, Shutterstock

2. It costs £1,835 on average to keep an animal for its entire life span compared to the £200 cost of adoption from many organizations.

(RSPCA)

The cost of adopting a new pet is significantly less than the £1,835 it costs on average to keep an animal for its entire life span. Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that the initial costs associated with bringing home a new dog or cat are the beginning.

There are regular visits to the vet, food, and supplies that add up over time. Adopting from a shelter is often a cheaper option for families looking for a pet that’ll become part of their family.

You can choose to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization rather than getting a pet from a breeder. This way, you’ll be saving the life of that animal and the cost to care for it.


3. Private rescue services charge an animal adoption fee ranging from £40-£500. Most public organizations charge nothing.

(PETFINDER)

According to the latest data from Petfinder, the average cost of adopting a dog or cat from a shelter is just £43.23. Usually, the cost of adopting a dog or cat is more expensive at private shelters than at public shelters.

This cost may vary depending on the organization and its operating costs. Most private rescues charge an adoption fee to cover medical bills and general care.

But, some pet adoption centers will waive fees for certain breeds, types of pets, and senior pets. Private rescues centers are operated privately. Also, they can be operated by groups of individuals who rescue animals from situations of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or death.

They usually operate independently of any public organization. Many animal adoption centers are either non-profit organizations or charities.


Number of Animals Adopted from Animal Shelter

4. The number of animals adopted each year in the UK is approximately 1.5 million.

(PFMA)

Statistics from PFMA show that there are approximately 1.5 million animals adopted each year in the United Kingdom. That’s a massive figure. It means that thousands of people are searching for a new best friend every day.

Adoption is the best way to save an animal’s life. It also helps take pressure off animal shelters and allow more room for the many other animals waiting for their home.

There are many animals in shelters that are looking for loving homes. Some of them are purebreds. But most of them are mixed breeds or strays. Animal shelters work hard to make sure that every animal they put up for adoption is healthy and friendly.

adopting a cat
Image Credit: Susan Schmitz, Shutterstock

5. For every dog adopted from a shelter, an average of four to six dogs are saved from euthanasia

(BMC)

One of the most important things you can do as an animal lover is to adopt one. The more animals you can convince people to save by adopting from a shelter or rescue, the more lives you’ll save. If you look at dog adoption statistics, for every dog adopted from a shelter, an average of four to six dogs get saved from euthanasia.

Animal lovers have a big part to play in this statistic. 22% of people who adopt animals do so because they want a pet they can rescue from a shelter.

Shelters are overcrowded but are doing their best to help dogs in need. They can’t do it without your help. If you’re looking for a furry friend, make sure to check out your local shelter first.


6. Two-thirds of animals adopted from shelters are kittens and cats under the age of five years.

(NATURE)

It’s no surprise that people love kittens and cats. They are intelligent, funny, cute, and easily trainable. Adopting a kitten out of the shelter is one of the best ways to alleviate pet overpopulation.

There are over 8 million pets adopted from shelters every year. But, sadly most of them are cats and kittens under five years old. It’s because people adopt kittens as impulse purchases, but then fail to neuter them.

As a result, these animals soon reach sexual maturity and begin to reproduce. It has created a massive problem for the UK pet population.


7. The number of dogs being adopted has increased by 5%, while that of cats being adopted has an increase of 2%

(DOGS TRUST)

The number of dogs and cats being adopted has increased in the past year. This picture is emerging from the rehoming statistics published by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity.

According to their latest statistics, the number of dogs being adopted has increased by 5%. The number of cats being adopted has increased by 2%. The reason for this increase in adoption can be attributed to more education on animal welfare.

More than 100,000 kittens and puppies were expected to be adopted from rescue centers by the end of this year to promote pet adoption.

woman smiling by cage adoption
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Pet Adopters and the Most Adopted Animal

8. Adopted cats live about 12 years on average with their new families.

(VCA)

The VCA reports that the average lifespan of an adopted cat is between 12 and 15 years. But, if your cat is spayed or neutered, this can increase its lifespan by up to two years.

Adopted cats are easier to care for than dogs. They’re more independent and self-sufficient. Additionally, cats are social animals, and so they get lonely easily. If left alone at home, they can get bored or anxious. So, it’s crucial to spend some quality time with them every day.

Adopted cats are active and playful. But, at first, they can be reserved with strangers. They bond quickly with their new owners and enjoy being around them for affection and playtime.

However, they can be skittish around strangers. So, it may take some time before your kitty warms up to visitors. Usually, adopted cats are healthy. But it’s crucial to have them checked by a vet once you adopt them. It’ll ensure that your kitty has no underlying health issues that could become apparent in the future.


9. In the UK, home checks are carried out to ensure that the adopter can provide a suitable home for an animal.

(ICAM)

Home checks are carried out before you adopt a pet. It’s an excellent way to ensure that the pet will be going home to a safe environment.

Home checks are done to ensure that the adopter can provide a suitable home for an animal. There are also health checks. They’re designed to ensure that the animal does not have any contagious diseases or poor health. The purpose of these processes is to ensure that the adopted animal has a happy and healthy life.

The home check process includes:

  • Interview with the adopter
  • Verification of the adopter’s identity
  • A check of the property, which may include a visit to view the home

Home checks may also include detailed conversations with family members or roommates.


10. 33% of people who have owned a dog for over one year adopted it from a shelter or rescue organization.

(NATURE)

A survey conducted by Nature.com of over 20,000 dog owners in the United Kingdom found that the most common way to adopt a dog is from an animal shelter. 33% of animal lovers who have owned a dog for over one year adopted it from a shelter or rescue organization.

Shelters in the UK take in both stray animals and unwanted pets and thus, are in desperate need of homes for their animals.

Pet adoption in the UK has seen a steady increase in recent years. However, there’s still plenty of work to do when it comes to finding homes for the nation’s homeless animals.

family adopting dog
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions on UK Animal Adoption Statistics and Facts

1. How many pets are adopted each year in the UK?

According to Researchgate, around 1 million animals are adopted each year in the UK. It’s the equivalent of about 11,000 animals getting adopted every day.

Adopting a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. There are thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other creatures waiting to find their forever homes.

One of the best things you can do for an animal is to provide it with a permanent, loving home.

(Researchgate)

2. What cats are the most challenging to adopt in the UK?

There are three groups of cats that are challenging to adopt. According to cat adoption statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), these are kittens, black cats, and older cats.

Kittens

The RSPCA states that kittens are challenging to adopt. It’s because they can be boisterous. It means that potential owners must factor in the cost of items such as toys and claw trimmers if they want to adopt a kitten.

Besides, people with small children may not want to adopt a kitten as they could suffer from allergies or be under threat from a playful pet. Also, young children may not be able to care for a pet well. It means that it would have to be left alone for extended periods.

siamese kitten with blue eyes
Image Credit: Alla Vanahs, Shutterstock

Black Cats

The RSPCA also says that black cats are often not so preferred for adoption with most pet lovers. It’s because of superstitions. So, some people don’t want to adopt them.

Older Cats

Compared to kittens, older cats are more challenging to adopt. It’s according to data from RSPCA. The reason is that potential owners believe that they will die soon.

(RSPCA)

3. What is the best age for a cat to be adopted?

Kittens can be a lot of work; they need attention and care every day. They don’t know how to use the litter box or eat on their own when they first come home. It takes time for kittens to develop these skills.

The best time to adopt kittens is between 8 and 12 weeks of age. At this age, they are ready to leave their mother and littermates. But they still need human contact and interaction to develop well.

Adult cats are more independent than kittens and they can also make excellent pets. Adult cats often bond more quickly with their new families because they’ve already spent time getting used to people.

4. How Many Dogs are Adopted per Day in the UK?

According to the Dogs Trust, an average of 1,800 dogs are adopted each day in the UK. This figure has been rising every year since 2012. It’s great, especially for a country that has a reputation for being pet-friendly than the rest of Europe.

(DOGS TRUST)

happy couple with dog
Image Credit: Pixabay

5. What Happens to Dogs that aren’t Adopted in the UK?

Every year, thousands of dogs that are not adopted at the end of their time in rescue centers are killed. With limited staff and space, many rescue centers decide to euthanize animals.

They euthanize animals whose behavior or health issues make them difficult to adopt.

Sadly, this is often the case with senior pets and those with minor behavioral or medical issues. The decision can be heart-breaking for those involved. But there are limited resources and a massive demand for their services. So, it’s a decision that has become increasingly unavoidable for many rescue centers and shelters.

(Oxbridge)

6. What percentage of animals are adopted in the UK?

The adorable faces of kittens, puppies, and other pets can melt even the hardest of hearts. That’s why animal shelters and rescue centers rely on the kindness and generosity of strangers to take in and care for their furry friends.

The average adoption rate in the UK is about 30%. But some shelters have achieved much higher rates. For example, the Scottish SPCA has a whopping 96% adoption rate.

7. Why are Black Animals Adopted Less in the UK?

According to a recent study by Treehugger, black animals are less likely to get adopted from animal shelters in the UK. They’re 25% less likely to find a home compared to their orange and ginger counterparts.

The study shows that most people are more likely to choose lighter-colored dogs than their darker counterparts. And cats of any color face an even tougher time than dogs when it comes to finding a new home.

Treehugger found that while all cats and dogs have equal value, there’s some evidence to suggest that black animals are less favored than others.

It all dates to European folklore. Witches were often portrayed as having black cats and dogs. Also, it featured in nightmare tales, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles.

(Treehugger)

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Conclusion

It’s projected that there’ll be one million dogs and 700,000 cats in the UK waiting for adoption this year. It’s impossible to know whether these projections will be correct. However, we can bet that these numbers will only increase with the rise in population and the spike in the cost of living.

But we can also bet that society isn’t slowing down. People always want pets and companion animals. It doesn’t matter if they’re trendy or not. They continue to occupy crucial roles in our society such as providing unconditional love and companionship. Thus, pets will still be adopted each day.


Featured Image Credit: tonyfortku, Pixabay

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