UK supermarkets have warned of a shortage of some dog and cat food products following an “unprecedented” rise in pet ownership during lockdown.
Sainsbury’s has apologised to customers after running out of dog and cat food pouches due to a “national shortage”.
Morrisons said it might not have “full availability for several months”, but added that it has enough stock for its customers.
It is understood Tesco has also seen strong demand for cat food in pouches.
Sainsbury’s said it was trying to resolve the issue but warned it would be “ongoing” in 2021, although tinned and dry food are unaffected.
It is blaming higher than usual demand for pouches after more pets were bought during lockdown.
Morrisons also said that there had been “an unprecedented rise in pet ownership across the UK” and it was seeing an “increase in demand”.
A spokesperson for Morrisons said: “We’re working closely with our suppliers who are investing in increasing their capacity and we may not have full availability for several months.”
But the supermarket added that there was no need for people to start panic-buying pet food.
“We do have enough stock to support all our customers and their new pets and so there is no need for people to buy more than they need.”
Tesco is also believed to be working closely with suppliers to meet the needs of customers’ pets.
Helen Warren-Piper, general manager of Mars Petcare UK, which makes Pedigree and Whiskas, said: “We recognise retailers are experiencing unusual demand for pet food during lockdown.
“We have made significant investment into our manufacturing network – including investment in our UK Melton pet food plant.”
Pet owners reacted with humour and dismay on Twitter.
Some said Sainsbury’s should have provided more information about the shortage in its email to customers.
The journalist Owen Jones said his cat was less than impressed.
There has been a well documented rise in pet ownership during the pandemic, with retail chain Pets at Home reporting strong sales and profits last year.
In November, it said that animals had been a “lifesaver” during lockdown, helping people through a period of “social loneliness”.
The firm not only saw stronger demand for pets, but also related services such as its Vets at Home business.
Shoppers panic bought pet food during the first national lockdown in 2020 but there have been no reports of similar trends since then.