Fears pet food shortages could ‘last all year’ after shoppers stockpile supplies

Fears have been raised pet food shortages could last all year after shoppers started to stockpile supplies.

Experts say the nation’s cats and dogs could go hungry amid a huge rise in demand after the number of pet owners soared during lockdown.

And they fear it will carry on throughout the year.

It comes as shoppers stockpile supplies from supermarkets over fears of a national shortage.

Dr Joe Inglis, a vet and founder of the pet food firm VetChef, said: "The UK has seen a huge spike in pet ownership over the past year thanks to lockdown, and while this is great news, there are some issues arising from this influx of new pets, one of which being a shortage of processed pet foods from retailers such as Sainsbury’s.

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"This increase in demand, coupled with Brexit checks and red tape making it more difficult for pet food businesses to move products to and from the EU, means that a shortage of prepared pet food is looking likely to continue throughout the year."

Heidi Maskelyne, founder of ProDog Raw, said it must be "a stressful time for a lot of pet owners".

According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 3.2million households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic.

It means there are now 17million pet-owning homes in the UK.

Deputy chief executive Nicole Paley said: "Introducing a pet to a household in Covid times can have repercussions or create unexpected difficulties."

But she added: "We appreciate that some pet owners will be concerned if they are unable to buy their pet’s favourite food but please rest assured, pet food manufacturers are working hard to remedy this as soon as possible.

"We encourage pet owners to continue to shop sensibly and only to buy what is needed so as not to cause unnecessary peaks in demand."

Tesco has been hit with strong demand, while Sainsbury’s has said it will battle to sort supply issues.

In an email to customers, Sainsbury’s 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."

It comes after panic-buying Brits started to stockpile food and toilet roll during the start of the pandemic last March.

The craze happened again back in January, after the country was plunged back into a national lockdown after coronavirus cases surged.

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