The proportion of households who own a pet has declined to 57%, down from 62%, according to data from UK Pet Food\u2019s annual pet survey.\r\n\r\nAlongside this there has been a decrease of 6% in the dog and cat populations, which now stand at 12m and 11m,\r\n\r\n3.7m households admit to having relinquished a pet in 2022 with this figure rising to 28% among young owners, 16-24 years old, as a result of the cost of living.\r\n\r\nFollowing the pandemic pet-acquisition boom 30% of young owners now admit that the cost-of-living crisis has made them rethink pet ownership.\r\n\r\nFurthermore the data confirms that around 20% of owners have had to make cuts on pet insurance, vet visits and pet food.\r\n\r\nHowever the most popular pets list has also evolved with a 50% rise in the number of smaller pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. This population is now at 5m, 1.7m more than the previous year.\r\n\r\nNicole Paley, UK Pet Food, said: \u201cWorld events have had a massive impact on lifestyles over the last few years. Throughout the pandemic, we saw an increase in people adding a pet to their family as they sought the amazing companionship a pet can bring. Today, owners are clearly impacted by the cost of living and sadly relinquishment figures are high.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe small pet population is on the up suggesting that people believe they are more manageable and less expensive to keep. Although pets bring huge joy to a household, they also come with a huge responsibility and it is so important to understand the care and cost implications \u2013 whatever the size of your pet,\u201d\r\n\r\nShe added: \u201cStartlingly, we discovered that only 29% of people considered the cost when they got a pet. Almost one fifth (18%) admitted that a pet was more expensive than they had considered. This figure rises to 23% among the youngest owners (16-24) and families are also impacted with 15% of those with children finding it tough.\u201d\r\n\r\nOver 50% of owners feel that pets support their mental wellbeing and this rises to over 60% among older people.