A Newsweek article published this week shines a light on a growing problem in our society, one affecting millions of families across the U.S.: the inability to access and afford sufficient care and services for their beloved companion animals. 

“Americans Can No Longer Afford Their Pets” reported on a survey that found that the costs of pet care had increased over the past year; most respondents to the poll, commissioned by Newsweek, expressed some level of concern about being able to financially support their companion animal. Through our own work, we have found that in the U.S., at least 20 million pets live in homes affected by poverty or in areas where resources are extremely limited or nonexistent.

We ardently believe that everyone deserves the experience of bonding with a companion animal, which is a source of love and comfort for all involved, and it follows that everyone must be able to access the resources they need to keep their companion animals healthy and happy. 

To counter this inequity, we are increasingly emphasizing our work in what’s called “access to care,” which refers to a suite of methods and strategies to bring supplies and veterinary care to the families of companion animals who need it most. I’ve talked about access to care as a defining animal welfare issue of our time, and I’m immensely proud of our expanding work and emphasis on this issue.