A few days ago, in the beginning of COVID-19 social distancing, many of the grocery store aisles were already empty including paper goods, canned food, and many pet supplies. As I was checking out, I saw a woman buying two 50 lb bags of kibble, several 3-6 lb and boxes of treats. This situation had me scratching my head and wondering what we would do if these supplies slowed or stopped all together. As the mad dash to the grocery to stock up on goods is well underway, your pet’s food may be harder to find.
What does this mean for your pet’s food?
The great news is that pet food supply stores are able to deliver right to your door. There are many online options including your veterinarian’s online pharmacy, local pet food stores, and larger online pet supply chains may be able to provide the diet you are searching for.
Stock up and keep your pet’s food fresh
Make sure you have at least 2-4 weeks of dog food on hand. Purchase smaller bags and open them as you need them. Larger bags of dog food are subject to spoil if they are not eaten in a short period of time. Old dog food can accumulate grain mites and ingredients can oxidize. If your pet’s food has an unusual smell, do not feed it to your pet. Unopened pet food can last for months, but remember to check the expiration dates.
If your pet is eating a prescription diet, order this item now. As changes in social distancing, store closures and quarantine develop around the country, your veterinarian may not be open or able to provide your pet’s food. Prescription diets require a written or electronic authorization for you to purchase these foods. Without this documentation, you may not be able to access these diets. If you have never received a written prescription or authorization by your vet contact your vet’s office and request a written prescription or authorization sent to an online retailer.
Pet Food Manufacturing
As border closures are occurring and more countries are placing their residents on quarantine, it is uncertain if this will impact pet food supplies. Many dog food brands acquire ingredients from overseas and some manufacture these foods outside of the United States.
The good news is that many US manufactured pet food companies are ramping up on production to meet the demands. To find out if there are changes in your pet’s food check out their social media pages.
In general it is recommended to transition your pet’s food slowly over time to prevent an upset stomach. Unplanned diet changes may not be possible at this time. If you need to change your pet’s food try to stick with the same brand of pet food. Another option is to consider a different brand with similar ingredients.
Not all brands of dog food are equal in quality or caloric content. Make sure to compare your dog’s weight to the recommended feeding guide on the food packaging. Remember to always check recent recalls on pet food before switching brands.
Dogs and cats require specific dietary nutrient concentrations based on their life stage. However, in emergency situations a full balanced diet may not be possible. It is ok to feed an unbalanced diet for a very short period of time. Thankfully there are many resources out there to help you formulate a diet at home.
Boiled boneless and skinless chicken with white rice is a great option for an upset tummy or quick homemade diet. Do not add any seasonings to this mixture.
You can find more ingredient options on Balanceit.com which will help provide a more balanced diet formula for your pet.
Pet Food Assistance Programs
Financial strains are being felt by many pet parents amid COVID-19 business closures. If you have been affected financially by COVID-19, many local organizations are offering pet food assistance or food banks. Many non-profit organizations are here to help in this time of crisis to ensure your pet is able to stay with you and your family during uncertain times. For example, the Houston Humane Society is offering free curbside pet food pantry. Check your local area non-profit groups.