Are Dog Food Shelves Empty?

With the recent news of the baby formula shortage being felt that started in the second quarter of 2022, another food item may be in short supply, i.e., dog food.

Across the United States, there have been reports of grocery shelves not being replenished enough with pet food, especially canned food for dogs and cats. Some stores claim that certain pet food products are running out of stock by as much as 40%.

Several factors contribute to its shortage, and pet owners are worried that prices would rise for these staple items with increasing demand and decreasing supply.

One big grocery chain is already discontinuing six of its pet food products. Trader Joeโ€™s announced that dog and cat canned foods, including Grain-Free Beef Recipe Dog Food and Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dog Food, will no longer be available.

The company blames โ€œinconsistent availability and ongoing sourcing issuesโ€ as the culprit. Once the remaining inventory is depleted, they will no longer restock the products.

Causes For The Disruption

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There are three major reasons why we are seeing a disruption in the supply of pet foods: shortages in raw ingredients, lack of packaging materials, and shipping problems.

It all started with the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 when the sourcing of raw materials, such as beef, salmon, duck, or chicken, was affected by labor shortages and factory shutdowns. Increased costs of some ingredients, such as soy, corn, and certain oils, also attributed to the overall shortage.

 A lot of these pet foods also rely on some ingredients sourced overseas, like certain minerals and vitamins. Lysine, an amino acid that helps in boosting immunity, calcium absorption, and collagen production, is not largely manufactured in the United States.

The production of aluminum cans is another reason. The raw materials needed to package these foods, especially wet pet foods, are in short supply. This supply is exacerbated by factors such as the war in Ukraine, Chinaโ€™s zero-COVID policy prompting the temporary closure of major seaports, and the ever-increasing demand for aluminum.

And, of course, all of these supply chain issues are connected to the problems with shipping. From lack of drivers to port congestion, transporting goods has been disrupted on a worldwide scale. The interconnectedness of the global economy has just gone awry, and economists predict that normalization will take time.

Options For Pet Owners

As an alternative to commercial pet foods, some pet owners are turning to a fresh and homemade option, whether raw or cooked.

The BARF diet is one that some would recommend where bones and raw food are served. Advocates of this diet believe that the natural state of the food closely resembles what wild dogs eat in nature.

The challenge is how to make the food nutritionally balanced and also free of bacterial contamination. Most commercial dog foods are already formulated to meet the daily needs of your pooch, and switching to a new diet sometimes has disagreeable results for their digestion.

Experts agree to follow the veterinarianโ€™s recommendation regarding any diet change.

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Pete Decker