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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Scottish charity offers free support through pet care clinics


Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home hope to tackle the effects of pet poverty head on.

Pet owners in Edinburgh and Midlothian who are struggling to afford to care for their pets are being given the opportunity to attend drop-in Pet Care sessions at four locations across the city.

Providing support, and guidance, the Pet Care Clinics are an in-person service which allows veterinary experts who volunteer for the Edinburgh Dog and Cat to support owners with basic behavioural queries, providing equipment to support training, advice on welfare, wellbeing checks and signposting to available services and support.

The monthly drop-in sessions take place at Simon Community Scotland, Food Facts Friends (Penicuik), Craigmillar’s Edinburgh Food Project and the Salvation Army in Granton. 

These venues are also supported by the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s food bank service, which works with 87 pet food bank providers across East and Central Scotland, providing meals to pet owners who would otherwise not be able to afford to feed their beloved pets.

The cost of living crisis has impacted the ways in which some pet owners care for their animals with some being forced to surrender their pets due to being unable to afford to care for them.  

Volunteer vet, Susan Little, said: “As a local vet with some spare time, I enjoy being able to help and advise people, whilst sharing in their stories of their pets, with all their adventures and mischief. 

“Being part of a regular, small team of friendly faces allows trust to be built up, so that folk feel comfortable to confide in us about the issues they are facing. 

“We are able to give general support and advice, along with being able to make a bit of fuss of any dogs which they bring along. A bit of chat and humour with the people coming along to the sessions makes it an inclusive, welcoming time, which is rewarding for volunteers and owners.”

From January to April 2024 the Home received 458 surrender requests from those struggling to keep their pet, they administered 104 vaccinations to animals in their care and provided 181 free pet essential items to owners in need.

Jamie Simpson, director of people and services at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: “We are seeing a worrying increase in the number of pet owners who are unable to afford vet treatment and don’t know where to go to get advice on training, behaviour, nutrition or general pet care. 

“We want to take action to prevent minor issues, behavioural or veterinary, becoming much bigger issues and in doing so prevent a pet owner from potentially having to give up their pet. 

“Our Pet Care clinics include a volunteer vet to support with basic pet care advice and are delivered in partnership with local organisations in a hub setting to allow owners to find support and advice under one roof. 

"The aim is to support pet owners with advice as well as to signpost them to other support and in doing so, keep pets in loving homes.”



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