CLEVELAND, Ohio — Pampered pets are feeling the pinch of inflation, as recent data indicates pets owners are splurging less on their loyal companions.
Nationally, pet product costs have risen an average of 8.3% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and pet service and care costs are up 7.8%.
"Prices have skyrocketed. People can't even pay for their own groceries, let alone care for their pets," said Suzie Sloan, who is Director of Development for the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
Shares of online retailer "Chewy" are down more than 35% this year.
Retail giants Walmart and Target report consumers are spending mostly on pet essentials, sticking with food, but skipping discretionary items like toys.
"There's inflation and the cost to care for animals. There's a fear about supply chain." said Leilani Fratis of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
As we've reported, shelters here and nationally are experiencing a spike in pet surrenders -- and pantries like Ohio Paws with Purpose are doing all they can to help pet owners provide the basics for their furry friends.
"A lot of people lost jobs, the need for pet food increased. And of course now because of the inflation being so high, there is a greater need," said Elvira Bellegoni, of Ohio Paws with Purpose.
Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous pets story on Sept. 7, 2022.
If you are looking for ways to cut back on pet food costs, consider these options:
- Shop online: There's a good chance the cost of your favorite pet food brands are lower from online sellers than what you will pay at brick-and-mortar stores.
- Buy in bulk: Both wet and dry pet food is more affordable when purchased in larger quantities.
- "Low cost" doesn't always mean "low quality": See if your vet can recommend a less expensive brand, to help ease costs.
"Food is expensive and we have recently chosen a cheaper option of food, like getting a big bag from Costco versus the small bags," said Sasha Scanlan, a pet owner who is cutting back on spending.
Small adjustments can help ease your monthly costs. And remember, spending less doesn't mean loving less in the eyes of your pet.
Check out a list of pet food pantries in northeast Ohio HERE.