Ashue Tomaz

Companionship during challenging times

Article & Images by Valerie MacDonald

The pandemic is prompting more people to acquire pets to deal with isolation and to provide companionship, say officials.

“More and more people are seeing the benefit of pets in their lives. This is especially important during the pandemic when the companionship that pets provide is essential in these challenging and isolating times,” says the executive director of the Pet Food Association of Canada.

This is the trend being experienced at Pet Valu, says its Peter Street, Port Hope Store Manager Ashue Tomaz.

Overall business is increasing, in part, because of COVID-19, she said during an interview. (There had already been a steady increase in recent years before the pandemic.)

Pet Valu customers were primarily in the dog and cat food areas of the store when this reporter visited.

Another pet trend is that some people are looking to feed their new members of their family in a more ‘human’ way. This has translated into pet food and treats advertising themselves as organic, all-natural, and containing new proteins like crickets.

Raw pet food has its supporters. The food is advertised not only to fit the size and age of the dog or cat – but to contain special nutritional additives to address everything from allergies to other specific health conditions. But some pet food can only be purchased through a veterinarian.

Then there is also the clothing pets are wearing these days, which not only includes coats and boots, but decorations for their hair and around their necks.

While the pandemic is limiting the travel of some people, that trip to the pet food store has become as important as going to the grocery store.

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