Major pet food retailers struggle to keep shelves stocked

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – You may have noticed empty shelves at the grocery store, but how about empty shelves at the pet store? 

The pandemic is plaguing the pet food industry. It’s becoming harder for major retailers to keep dog and cat food coming in. Linda Dutton said she goes to great lengths to find food for her dog, Scrappy. 

“Sometimes I have to go to two or three different places,” Dutton said. 

Director of the Center for Supply Chain Excellence at FGCU Raj Srivastava said there are several reasons behind the shortage. First, there’s a lot of pet food stuck in ports. And – there’s a material shortage when it comes to packaging. 

“Take for example the aluminum used in canned pet food. Aluminum is in short supply,” said Srivastava. 

Demand for pet food is up thanks to the over 10 million Americans who brought home a new pet during the pandemic. Geoff Moser owns The Beach Dog, a smaller, stand-alone shop in Cape Coral. He said keeping kibble in stock isn’t a problem for him. 

“As a local, independent store, we don’t rely on products from China. Luckily, most of our products are domestic,” said Moser. 

Because Moser manages his own orders, he knows exactly what’s coming in for his customers. His shop gets big deliveries twice a week. 

“Having to rely on corporate or having to rely on online can be a real headache sometimes,” he said. 

Moser said he hopes to provide pet lovers with a possible solution to ongoing pandemic problems. 

“What we’ve learned over the past few years is to adapt and overcome challenges. This is another bump in the road,” Moser said.