Paws for Concern: How Student Loan Payments Could Impact Pet Owners Nationwide

It’s time to reveal important information about a situation that could have a significant impact on our four-legged friends. As millions of Americans face restarting their student loan payments, we must prepare for the potential ripple effect on our pets and already stretched animal shelters.

The possibility of having more pets in shelters

Picture this: You’re a loving pet owner, but life’s financial stressors already make it difficult to provide for your furry friend. Now add to that the resumption of student loan payments after a 3 1/2 year hiatus, and you have a recipe for monetary stress that could be downright heartbreaking for pets, their owners, and our animal shelters.

According to Shelter Animal Count (SAC), a reliable source of animal shelter data, about 40 million people will again face monthly student loan payments in October. This financial burden could potentially lead some pet owners to consider giving up their pets because they feel overwhelmed and unable to provide for themselves.

Stephanie Filer, Executive Director of Shelter Animals Count, says, “For owners, their pets, and the already overburdened shelter system, it is urgent that people review their budgets, create plans, and contact shelters now to help to connect. them with resources. The hope is that planning ahead will allow them to keep their pets home and out of shelters.

Financial Pressure on Pet Owners

The average monthly student loan payment is estimated at $503, and a survey by U.S. News and World Report suggests that a majority of borrowers (85%) anticipate facing financial hardship due to repayment of their student loan. With 66% of U.S. households owning pets and a significant portion of those pet owners falling into the Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X categories, it’s clear that many could be feeling the effects.

“From a housing perspective alone, these new monthly payments could make it difficult to meet rent or mortgage obligations, especially in a market lacking affordable, pet-friendly housing,” adds Filer. “This is crucial because shelters often cite housing as one of the top reasons for pet abandonments, especially dogs.”

A Pet’s Paw-sible Lifeline: Resources to the Rescue

So what can we do to help keep pets in their loving homes and out of shelters during these financially difficult times? Here are some helpful resources and tips pet owners across the country can consider:

Tips for saving money:

  • Discounts on pet supplies: Look for online retailers that offer subscription and savings programs for pet supplies and keep an eye out for sales and discount codes.
  • Pet supplies offered: Check neighborhood apps or social media groups to find free or cheap pet supplies that people are giving away.
  • Spay/Neuter and vaccines: Look for low-cost, high-volume spay and neuter clinics and shelter-affiliated clinics for discounted services.
  • Emergency medical care: If your pet needs medical care that you can’t afford, there are organizations that can help.
  • Pet Pantry: Many shelters provide emergency food assistance to help people keep their pets during times of financial hardship.
  • Animal Retention Programs: Shelters often offer resources to help people keep their pets home in a crisis, including medical care, behavioral resources, and more.
  • A national database of assistance programs for pet owners seeking various types of help.
  • Adopt, don’t buy: Consider adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue group rather than purchasing it from a pet store, breeder or online seller.


In a world where financial stressors can lead to the heartbreaking abandonment of beloved pets, it is crucial that we spread the word about these resources and tips. Let’s come together as a nation to ensure that every pet has a loving home, regardless of the economic challenges their owners face.

And remember, when you adopt a pet, you’re not just saving a life; you also save a lot of money, leaving more room in your budget for their care. Let’s wag our tails and support each other, because together we can make a positive impact on the lives of our four-legged family members!

About the Shelter Animal Count (SAC): SAC is an industry-led, collaborative, not-for-profit organization that aims to improve animal welfare nationwide by providing facts and enabling information through the National Housing Animal Statistics Database.

About Pawlytics: Pawlytics is management software designed to help animal shelters and rescues save more animals by streamlining the process from intake to adoption. Founded in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2018, Pawlytics’ mission is to equip animal rescuers with affordable technology to further their lifesaving efforts.


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