Despite the obvious emotional benefits that come with caring for an animal, the sad truth is that providing for a pet can be financially straining for many owners, particularly in these times of austerity.
Pet food and pet medications often turn out to be more expensive than people expect, which is why animal rescue shelters around the world are currently overloaded with record numbers of abandoned pets whose owners could not afford to keep them.
However, a new initiative has been launched in the US which could help to change all that, with 'pet food stamps' now being offered by a number of animal healthcare companies.
Owners living below the poverty line will be able to apply for the scheme, which will entitle them to a completely free supply of pet food for a set period - usually around six months - pending an assessment of their financial situation.
While the scheme is currently not being offered in the UK, animal charities across the globe will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the initiative in order to determine whether or not it can help to alleviate the problem of abandoned pets.