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Why Is Dog Chow Scarce, and Now, So Expensive?

May 25, 2023

Why Is Dog Chow Scarce, and Now, So Expensive?

Over the last few months, dog owners and rescuers have seen a scarcity of dog chow and have had to make instant decisions as to what other brand to use as alternatives. When those products also became limited, the headache was to make yet another adjustment to their pets’ diet. When the various brands of chow became available again, there was a noticeable increase in prices, some of which almost doubled what they cost before the shortage. So what happened? News Five’s Marion Ali went looking for the answers in this week’s edition of Belize on Reel.

Marion Ali, Reporting

If you’re a dog owner, you would have noticed a sudden scarcity in two major brands of dog chow. Pedigree and Purina disappeared almost simultaneously off the shelves in many stores and supermarkets countrywide. What happened?

Phillip Gallaty Jr.

Phillip Gallaty Jr., Manager, Victor L. Bryant and Company Limited

“COVID caused the closing of a lot of factories in the United States. Since COVID, most of those factories have not recovered for many reasons. One, many employees are being paid for being paid by the American government not to go to work or getting more money not going to work. The new American government raised the salary so it was very difficult to compete with jobs with the current salaries. This caused a spiral upward effect of everything because then everybody labor went up, cost of goods went up, trucking went up, fuel is up. Everything caused a huge spiral in effect. This create, the shortage created in the United States created a bigger shortage in the export market. It’s creating a further shortage in the United States because they’re sucking off all the stocks from Costco, Walmart, Price Mart, and these kind of people in there. And then as a result, the products landed in these countries are at a higher price, but they’re not the export price.”

The shortage of the Pedigree and Purina brands drove demand for other imported brands.

George Luo

George Luo, Manager, 88 Shopping Centre

“Rufo is actually a second choice of people, you know. Rambocan, well, they are a nice, alright brand too. So, I believe they were going down well, because less competitor and, you know, more sales coming.”

Marion Ali

“I see you have Pedigree in stock now though. How did that happen?”

George Luo

“Actually those are what we just recently get it from just yesterday. And it’s limited stock.”

We understand that the limited supply of Pedigree that is presently available has been secured from across the northern border. Today, while there is not an acute scarcity of dog chow, the prices that they come with is exceedingly high, particularly those top brands. Gallathy says importers are not to blame.

Phillip Gallathy

“I wouldn’t say it’s that much inflation locally, no. The, the, the, the, the intrinsic costs are 80% uncontrollable, because you have to deal with the sourcing. You have to deal with the logistics of getting there, and the duties and taxation issues. We have nobody has any control over that.”

George Luo

“Before, I used to, back in the days, used to be two dollars, or even one seventy five, you know? Yeah. And right now I guess it’s like, one fifty, it’s twenty one pound for one hundred and fifty dollars, that would be like six dollars and so forth.”

Marion Ali

“Have you found that sales went down since the prices went up?”

George Luo

“Well, of course, you know.”

Marion Ali

“Because people buy less now?”

George Luo

“Of course, yeah. I think people will choose the next brand of the food.”

The dietary change in the types of dog chow, however, may have an effect on your animal.

Jane Crawford

Dr. Jane Crawford, Veterinary Surgeon, Animal Medical Centre

“If you’re completely out and you go switch to a new food, Um, you might have digestive issues with the dog. So you might have a little bit of vomiting, diarrhea, and they might go off the food because it’s not what they are accustomed to eating. But then this is something that you as the pet owner would need to monitor. So if it’s just a temporary issue, then you could continue with the food. Now sometimes if you are able and you have the smaller quantity left of the original food that you were given, then you can start to mix in over a seven day period to the food that you’re switching to. So then you would have less issues with the digestive problem.”

Dr. Jane Crawford, a veterinary surgeon at Animal Medical Centre, says that different brands of dog chow contain different ingredients.

Dr. Jane Crawford

“When you’re looking at protein or a meat source, you could either have. So you have beef, chicken, turkey, fish. So you’re looking at that. Then you also have different grains. So they have corn, rice, barley, all of that would make the different foods. So depending on the food and on the quality – all the foods – they’re different.”

The inflated costs of dog chow have forced many owners to seek more affordable options. Some have turned to meat shops to provide them with bone dust – which is simply the residue from meats that are left on the meat saw at the end of the day. It resembles ground beef, sells for a dollar a pound and Dr. Crawford says it can be cooked for a few minutes with other ingredients as a healthy meal for your furry friends.

Dr. Jane Crawford

“If you’re using the bone dust, then you probably want to, because you’re looking at, you want protein, and then you also want carbohydrates, so you’re looking at a balanced diet, as much as possible as you can. So with some dogs you can add different stuff, so you could do your rice as a starch, or pasta, or potato as starch. Then you have – you could add vegetables.”

For people who feed their dogs only leftover food and table scraps, Crawford says it is not safe to give your dogs onions and garlic because those are toxic to them and over time they can cause severe health issues for your dogs. Marion Ali for News Five.