MARS launches pet homelessness index


Mars Petcare, in partnership with an Advisory Board of leading animal welfare experts, has released the first-ever State of Pet Homelessness Index.

Despite an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic, with half of pet owners having found a new appreciation for their pets over the past year, the Index reveals an estimated 1.1 million homeless cats and dogs in the UK are living in shelters or on the street. Furthermore, the report highlights UK pet parents’ concerns, with nearly two thirds (61%) of pet owners worrying that when life returns to normal there will be more homeless pets than ever.  

The survey reveals how there are several challenges for Brits looking to get a pet, such as prohibitive rental agreements, with almost two thirds (63%) of the general population reporting it to be difficult to own a dog when you live in an apartment. Stigmas against adopting specific breeds of dogs is also part of the problem, with over half (58%) of prospective pet owners saying they would not buy or adopt a Pitbull, with 51% believing they are an aggressive breed. The report also identified issues with negative perceptions of animals from shelters and stray populations, with 36% of people revealing they would not consider adopting from a shelter and a quarter (25%) believing that stray dogs are a danger to them.

Kim Smet, Interim General Manager, Mars Petcare UK, comments: “We’ve worked for years to address pet homelessness in pursuit of our purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS, implementing a wide range of programmes including responsible pet owner education, challenging misconceptions around shelter adoption, and providing shelter support. Until now, there was no way to measure and track the scale of the issue comprehensively in UK. That’s why we are proud to share the State of Pet Homelessness Index, so that anyone working towards this goal can measure the impact of their work in shelters and with stray cats and dogs. We know this is just the start and welcome additional input and insights from organisations who also want to help end pet homelessness.”  

To find out more about the State of Pet Homelessness Index and existing programmes addressing the pet homelessness problem please visit: You can also follow the conversation on social media using #EndPetHomelessness.