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Pet food availability in vet clinics during coronavirus lockdown

Vet with Bichon dog and bowl of food advice

Allow a few extra days for pet food to arrive.

© Shutterstock

Having trouble finding your pet's regular foods during the coronavirus lockdown? Worried you'll run out of their food? Help is here.

By Dr. Liz Barton MA, VetMB, MRCVS

Updated on the 20/11/2020, 19:37

The whole country may be in lockdown due to coronavirus, but that doesn't mean that it has to be a nightmare to buy food for our pets. As you'll see here, there should still be enough vets in your area to buy your regular pet food and, if you're not sure, vets are always available online to talk to and answer your important dietary questions.

How can I get pet food during the coronavirus lockdown?

As with many food staples, there was a period of panic buying pet food at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown period. Demand is now stabilising and pet food is becoming easier to source with more reliable supplies being stocked. Veterinary diets are available at veterinary clinics even during the coronavirus lockdown. Although some clinics are closed, there are others that are open and are conducting emergency work and vaccinations at their discretion. To get pet food, any veterinary plan or a prescription diet, you can talk to a vet online via an online consultation. The staff will be able to guide the pet owner on how to get pet food during lockdown. Veterinary diets are also available online, so it's worth searching that way too.

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What should I do if my usual pet food is out of stock?

If you cannot source your pet’s usual food and are not sure what the best alternative is, you should contact a vet. If you have the ingredients and nutritional breakdown from your favoured diet to hand, this can help the vet to guide you to a suitable alternative. If your pet suffers from allergies or upset stomach, the vet may even be able to suggest diets better suited to managing these conditions.

How can I get veterinary diets for my pet during the coronavirus lockdown?

Veterinary prescription diets are only fed under the guidance of a vet for management of specific conditions (such as liver disease or bladder stones). If the vet thinks a prescription diet is recommended – either following an online or telephone consultation, or after examining your pet – they can advise you where to source the diet. They can usually be ordered in through the local vet practice for collection.

Can I still get veterinary diets if the local vet practice is closed?

Some veterinary practices have had to temporarily close their doors during lockdown. But they will have put arrangements in place with neighbouring practices to provide services for pets usually under their care. This should include the order and supply of veterinary diets. Additional pet food supplies may vary between practices.

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Will it take longer than normal for my pet food order to arrive?

It is worth allowing a few extra days for pet food to arrive, to allow for any unexpected delays in supply and delivery. Order more pet food while you still have a week or more of supply at home.

What should I do if I run out of pet food?

If you are not able to source pet food in time, it is best to seek veterinary advice about what to feed in the interim. This will depend upon the age, bodyweight and any underlying medical conditions your pet may have. Substituting human food is not ideal, as it will not be balanced with all the vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that your pet needs. Many human foods are also toxic to pets (e.g. the onion family, including garlic powder, is poisonous to dogs).