A leading Scots charity has said demand for its pet food banks is growing as dog and cat owners struggle with the cost of living.

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home supplies 77 pet food banks around Scotland, aimed at helping those who find themselves in “pet poverty”.

These are places where pet owners can pick up food and supplies for their animals alongside other provisions at normal food banks.

The dog and cat shelter started its pet food bank programme in 2020, initially helping four or five food banks around Edinburgh.

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It helps more than 2,000 dogs and cats monthly with supplies.

The cost of living crisis has already led to increasing numbers of people who wish to give up their pets because they need to cut costs.

CEO Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine said the charity wanted to help people keep cats and dogs safely in their own homes.

She told the PA news agency: “What we’re finding is people are making terrible sacrifices between feeding and themselves to care for their dogs and their cats, to feed them over themselves.

“That is a heart-breaking choice, which many people are having to make on a daily basis.”

She added: “Our pet food banks have been a huge lifeline.

“It’s more than 2,000 dogs and cats we’re keeping in loving homes every month.

“Which has meant the increase in demand for our services has been huge.

“Pet poverty is a real thing and it’s affecting communities across this country.”

She encouraged anyone struggling to pay for their pet’s essentials to reach out for help.

In addition, the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has seen its own costs rise sharply due to inflation and energy bills.

Electricty supplies for the shelter on Seafield Road are estimated to top £30,000 next year, with gas expected to be above £60,000.

The charity has begun contacting MSPs and MPs to seek assistance for the animal sector.

In a blog post earlier this month, Ms Fyffe-Jardine said: “We have made substantial savings through our own in-house cost-cutting, but what we cannot do is reduce the level of care we afford our animals. They are and always will be our priority.

“It takes gas and electricity to keep them warm and fed – but these horrendous increases are unprecedented, and while we appreciate, they are hitting everyone and will start to hit others’ in the animal charity before long, we cannot simply try and absorb them through donations.

“We need to see positive action now to ensure the future of the Home – and the well-being of the animals in our care.”