The UK now has an estimated 17million pet-owning homes, said the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. Supermarkets are asking customers to be patient as they resolve supply issues due to the “unprecedented rise”. Sainsbury’s bosses apologised to regular buyers for a shortage of dog and cat food pouches this week. And are encouraging shoppers to buy tinned or dry varieties.
Morrisons said it might not have “full availability for several months” but assured shoppers it has enough stock. Waitrose is also running low, while Tesco has seen strong demand.
The PFMA is celebrating the boom in new additions for companionship during the long national lockdowns but flagged up the need to be aware of what the responsibility entails.
Deputy chief executive Nicole Paley said: “Introducing a new pet to a household during Covid times can have repercussions or create unexpected difficulties.”
More than a third of owners described having a pet as like having a baby, while about a fifth of families with children said training the new arrival was challenging.
Five per cent who bought a pet during the pandemic have already given it up.
But 74 per cent said it had helped their mental health during periods of isolation.
People under 35 years old made up nearly 60 per cent of new pet owners.