Pet Food Security for Ontario’s Animals
#FoodSecurity for Ontario’s Pets
Ontario pet families need access to proper nutrition for their pets. There are 9.3 million pet owners in Ontario, 55% of those own a dog or cat and 45% own other types of pets. The tightened restrictions announced in April 2021 which excluded pet stores as essential businesses has reduced Ontarian’s access to the food and nutritional products which are critical to the health of their pets.
No other jurisdiction in North American has restricted pet families access to pet specialty services to this degree. To keep the availability of pet food, nutritional products, and care advice easily accessible to pet families, we request that the Ontario government add pet stores back to the list of essential businesses with 25% in-store capacity to match the regulations provided for other food distribution outlets. Regular, guaranteed access to these products avoids causing distress to our pets and is in accordance with the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.
Pet specialty stores carry many brands and types of food that cannot be purchased online or in grocery stores; suddenly changing a pet’s diet can lead to suffering health problems.
Pets such as small mammals, birds reptiles and fish require specific types of nutrition and providing the proper nutrition for an animal is crucial to their health. Grocery and larger commercial retailers allowed to remain open only offer limited options, do not have the specialized food like crickets for reptiles and supplements required to maintain pet health. Restricting access to proper nutrition puts pets in jeopardy.
Pet parents require in-person conversation with pet professionals. From what type of food is right for a specific pet to behavioral questions and getting the right fit for items like enclosures, perches, or collars. More Ontarians become pet owners each week and need this support.
Safety is paramount:
There are many different levels of pandemic penetration in different regions across the province. Allowing the option for pet stores to open to 25% capacity, would give business owners the option to decide what works best in their situation.