UK Supermarkets have warned of a shortage of pet food pouches due to the massive increase in the number of people purchasing and adopting pets during the lockdown.
The Guardian reports that Sainsbury’s apologised on 9 March that it had run out of dog and cat food pouches, although tinned and dry food was still available, claiming that the rise in pets purchased throughout the coronavirus pandemic has led to the shortage.
In an email to customers, the supermarket said: “Due to a national shortage of dog and cat food pouches, we're sorry if you're not able to find your usual product at Sainsbury’s. We're working hard to resolve this. We think the issue will be ongoing through the year, but we hope to get them back onto shelves as quickly as possible.”
Data released in January revealed that in the last three months of 2020, over 1,800 people got in contact with the Dog’s Trust, all looking to give up dogs under the age of one, and The Kennel Club claimed a quarter of new puppy owners had impulsively bought a pet during the pandemic, without fully researching their needs.
Now it seems that the increase in pet ownership has impacted the availability of pet food, and suppliers are struggling to meet the demand.
As for the pet food brands affected, Sainsbury’s stocks leading brands such as Sheba, Whiskas, Felix, Cesar and Pedigree. It is not known if specific brands are experiencing more shortages than others. The supermarket does still have a variety of brands in stock, of both wet and dry food.
The shortage affects both dog and cat food, but it is not yet known if it affects food supplies for other types of pets.
Sainsbury’s has now warned that ‘some products might become unavailable’, and other supermarkets are also thought to be affected by the shortage, including Tesco.
The shortages are not thought to have been caused by panic-buying, which caused a similar shortage of pet food in the first half of 2020.
So far, Asda and Morrisons have not made statements on whether their pet supplies are running low.
What can I feed my pet if I can’t get pet food?
If you find yourself unable to get your usual brand of pet food, then according to cat food brand Purina, cats can also eat:
- Meat, though it must be thoroughly cooked and all bones and skin removed
- Fish, but it must also be cooked and deboned. Oily fish such as Tuna is particularly good for cats
- Veggies such as broccoli, carrots and peas
- Fruit - though not popular with felines, the following are safe to feed your cat: bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon (seedless) and peeled apples (deseeded)
However, cats should not eat any dairy, nuts and seeds, chocolate, anything that contains caffeine, or foods of the allium family (garlic, onions, chives, leeks, shallots and scallions).
According to Pets At Home, dogs can eat:
- Fruits such as apples, bananas, blueberries and red tomatoes
- Cooked eggs (deshelled)
- Small quantities of cheese - Blue cheeses and any which contain garlic, onion, or herbs should be avoided.
And dogs should avoid:
- Grapes, raisins, avocados and sultanas
- Onions, garlic, mushrooms and chives
- Caffeine (tea and coffee)
- Xylitol (a sugar substitute)
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