RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s a bad time to be a finicky eater, like some of our four-legged family members.
Pet food shortages mean our pets aren’t always getting what they want.
“We’re ordering it. It’s just not coming in,” said Emmi Lehto, an assistant manager at Pet People in Midtown Raleigh.
Keeping shelves stocked with wet canned food can be a challenge for them.
“Getting certain flavors in, specifically like beef and lamb are difficult to get in nowadays,” said Lehto.
The issues started last year with a shortage of canned dog food. It’s now expanded to include cat food.
“It’s always hard to tell a customer we don’t have what they want or what they’ve bought here before. We’re always trying our best to recommend good substitutes for them or at least trying to help figure out the problem,” said Lehto.
Pet People is not alone. A look at any pet supply or grocery store will turn up empty gaps in the pet food aisle.
“It’s just many little pieces that add up,” said Louise Calderwood, director of regulatory affairs at the American Feed Industry Association.
Calderwood said stores that sell pet food all have the same supply chain problems.
“We’re certainly well aware of issues at the ports, or bringing products into the country. In that case, it could be packaging. It could be some key ingredients,” said Calderwood.
Cans for wet food are tougher to come by because of steel and aluminum shortages. Add to that a lack of truck drivers which slows travel time from warehouse to store.
Even with pet food manufacturers working on solutions for each issue, Calderwood says the shortages can’t be solved overnight.
“They’re doing all the things they can to look at as many different methods as possible to fill in the weak links,” she said.
Until everything settles, your four-legged friends won’t go hungry but it means you may need to be more willing to test different food brands or flavors for your pet.
“While your specific brand may not be there today, you do have choices and the ability to keep your cats fed,” said Calderwood.
Calderwood said some humans may also notice their favorite canned soup or items are also often out of stock.
Like our pets, it means we have to be more flexible too. You may have to try shopping at a different store or on a different day than you are used to.