Australia now has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world,with 69 per cent of households owning a pet.

A study by Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) saw that while pet owners foundthe emotional and social benefits of having a pet during lockdown wereextremely beneficial, a small number did find issue with accessing services,pet products and food.

Steve Adams, Managing Director of FiberCycle, said one of the big things isthat the pandemic has significantly increased household penetration.

“Keeping up with demand is probably our biggest area of challenge in somerespects as an industry as Australia has seen a massive uptake and upswing ofpets. So, today as a manufacturer, being able to provide additional productsand opportunities for these new pet owners is a real pain point.”

Adams also said that the way consumers interact with brands has changed due tothe pandemic, forcing companies to adapt to a new way of thinking.

“The challenge for us is probably about fragmentation of the channel and therapid development of e-commerce is providing both challenge and opportunity.So that kind of fragmentation where you traditionally need to either go to asupermarket or a pet specialty store, that’s now really kind of blurring,which means omni channel retailers like Amazon obviously coming to the market.

“Pet Circle who are obviously e-commerce pet specialty experts, and thenyou’ve got companies like Woolworths that are now starting to leveragee-commerce platforms and they’ve created a JV with another company that sellspet insurance to create a brand called Pet Culture. This kind of you everevolving kind of channel matrix is something that’s a challenge andopportunity, depending on your perspective,” said Adams.

Another challenge, brought partly on by the number of households now owningpets is a shortage in veterinarians. This is a problem that not only effectsthose looking for pet care, but also on veterinarians themselves.

Dr. Claire Jenkins, founder of VetChat, said: “We are experiencing aveterinarian shortage, which together with the booming intake of pets duringCOVID is placing increased strain on veterinary clinics. Particularly in areaswith no easy access to open emergency centres, there is a lot of pressure onthe after-hour services, with many vets experiencing after hours fatigue.”

If you are a veterinarian who is experiencing a difficult time, please callthe Australian Veterinary Association on 1300 687 327 for confidentialtelephone counselling.

Tagged: covid-19, pet ownership

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