Every day, thousands of loving pet owners struggle to pay for the veterinary care of their four-legged friends, through no fault of their own. Pets mean everything to us, and when owners fall on hard times, we want to be there to keep them and their pet together. If you have a pet and fall on hard times, we’ll be there to support you.

PDSA keeps people and pets together by providing a lifeline to owners who are experiencing financial hardships and unable to afford veterinary treatment. With your support, we can help those struggling most get the life-saving veterinary care their pet desperately needs.

We also offer pet welfare education and practical preventive support to combat the unnecessary illness, pain and suffering of pets in low-income households.

Whether it’s supporting pet owners with free advice on our Pet Health Hub, raising awareness of issues such as obesity, or recognising animals who have demonstrated acts of bravery through our Animal Awards programme – we know how important animals are.

This is all thanks to our fantastic supporters. PDSA receives no government funding and relies entirely on public support to continue our work. By supporting PDSA, you are helping to keep people and pets together.

PDSA Veterinary Nurse with cat

We’ve been keeping people and pets together for over a hundred years. Find out more about PDSA below:

In 2022, our dedicated veterinary teams in our 48 Pet Hospitals provided 2 million treatments. Below, you can read all about the life-saving veterinary care our exceptional teams offer to our beloved pet patients.

Our history

PDSA has been a lifeline for sick and injured pets since 1917.

Our veterinary expertise and comprehensive education programme mean that we touch the lives of more pets and owners than any other animal welfare organisation. And we owe it all to one truly inspirational woman: PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin.

Maria Dickin was born in London in 1870. The daughter of a Free Church Minister, she was an independent-minded young woman, never afraid to voice her beliefs.

When she went to visit the poor in the East End of London, she was horrified by the terrible poverty she witnessed – especially the sight of their sick and injured pets who were in desperate need of veterinary care. Dogs and cats had no choice but to scavenge from the gutters, many in pain and suffering – raw with mange and often dragging their broken limbs. All because their owners simply couldn’t afford to pay for treatment.

So on Saturday 17 November 1917, during the First World War, Maria opened The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals of the Poor, providing a free service for pets in need, in a Whitechapel basement.

There was so much demand that she soon needed larger premises and established a fleet of mobile dispensaries to travel around the country.

Maria devoted her life to improving the welfare of the pets she loved. Her determination, enthusiasm and pioneering spirit define PDSA to this day.

We’re proud to continue her work, ensuring that today, and in the years to come, people who, through no fault of their own, can’t afford to pay for veterinary care for their beloved pets still have somewhere to go for help and free treatment.

Our Mission

PDSA's vision is a society in which no pet is denied veterinary care, because their owner can't afford it. We work hard every day to keep pets healthy and protect the special bond between pets and their owners. Our mission is in two parts, to reflect the diversity of our work:

  1. Provide compassionate veterinary care for the sick and injured pets of people who otherwise couldn't afford to pay. 
  2. Provide pet welfare education and practical preventive support to combat unnecessary illness, pain and suffering of pets in low-income households.

Our values:

The bond that keeps us together. Our values are the qualities that bind us and make us who we are. They're our DNA; always there guiding our actions, behaviours and our decision-making process. Our values are:

  • Head and Heart – Expertise with understanding. At PDSA, we combine expertise with understanding to help deliver a happier and healthier future for pets and their owners.

  • Better together - Empowering through unity. We can achieve more if we work in partnership with everyone who touches the life of a pet. Working together, PDSA, owners, supporters and the public can all have a positive impact on pets’ health and happiness.

  • Passion with Purpose – Driven in our dedication. We can all make a difference in creating a world where no pet suffers. We must improve and deliver more today than yesterday, making every pound deliver even more benefit. Our passion and dedication drive us to continually achieve more.

Our Veterinary Services

Our vets and nurses are ready to deal with everything from lifesaving surgery to everyday preventative care. It all happens across our network of 49 Pet Hospitals around the UK. In 2023:

  • We employed 420 vets, 320 vet nurses and over 950 veterinary support staff.
  • We treated over 430,000 pets.
  • We provided 2.2 million veterinary treatments at PDSA Pet Hospitals.
  • We supported 360,000 eligible pet owners throughout the UK.

Eligible pet owners

We help the pets of owners in need.

To be eligible for our free veterinary service, owners must be in the catchment area of one of our Pet Hospitals and receive one of the following:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Universal Credit with a Housing Element

To be eligible for our reduced cost veterinary service, owners must live within the catchment area of a PDSA Pet Hospital and be:

  • In receipt of means-tested benefits (including Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income support, DLA, ADP, JSA, ESA and PIP)
  • A pensioner living in houses Council Tax bands A-D

We’d love to help everyone, but as a charity our funds are limited, so you do have to be eligible for your pet to receive PDSA treatment. Our website contains lots of information for keeping your pet healthy and happy.

Are you eligible? Find out now.

Our vet teams

All of our PDSA Pet Hospitals provide professional care from highly qualified vets and nurses, plus dedicated support staff, like the receptionists you see when you arrive.

Help for dogs, cats, budgies and ‘small furries’

We can help all the most popular types of pet – dogs, cats, budgies, rabbits and other ‘small furries’ like guinea pigs, hamsters and even chinchillas. Sorry, but we don’t cover insects, reptiles or farm animals, so you’ll need to take them to a specialist vet instead.