The number of dogs arriving at a Dumbarton and the Vale rescue and rehoming centre has rocketed by 100 per cent in a year.

Research undertaken by the Scottish SPCA and the RSPCA found that the charity’s centre in Milton welcomed 58 dogs in the first half of 2022, up from 29 in the same period in 2021.

The Animal Kindness Index has sparked fears over the effect of the cost-of-living crisis on pets’ welfare.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of innovation and strategic relations, said: “The research carried out by the RSPCA as part of their Animal Kindness Index is vital for us to understand key animal welfare trends and the Scottish SPCA is proud to have played a part in the development of this index.

“We have been lucky so far that we have not seen much of an impact on our services from the cost-of-living crisis but we are under no illusions.

"We know Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and people will do their best to keep their animals with them, even in the toughest of times.

"However, we fully expect to see a rise in pet owners who are unable to care for their animals or afford veterinary bills in the coming months due to rising costs.”

The Milton centre has cared for 503 animals in the first half of 2022 alone and is now almost at capacity.

One animal who found itself in the charity’s care is Ace the Akita cross, who arrived at the centre in Milton after he was found straying. He was shy and unsure but, through the dedicated work of the centre team, has since become a confident and friendly dog.

Stark findings

Emma Slawinski, director of advocacy and policy at the RSPCA, said: “It’s great that our research has confirmed we are a nation of animal lovers, however we cannot ignore the stark findings that the cost-of-living crisis is the biggest single threat to pets in the UK today.

“We are on the brink of an animal welfare crisis due to the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic, coupled with the cost-of-living pressures biting - especially those on lower incomes. It’s absolutely heart-breaking.”

View the Animal Kindness Index at the RSPCA website.