Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Pet Expert: Number of Pets Relying on Canadian Food Banks is Staggering

This is the season of giving, and there is no better place to give than in your own community.

2020 has been an unusually difficult year for many, as COVID-19 has not only changed our way of living, it has changed the ways we earn a living too. From massive job losses to interruptions in the supply chain, the strain put on families during this upcoming Christmas season will be harder than ever before.

Food bank visits across the country have increased substantially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many food banks in Canada are experiencing all-time highs for demand of basic goods. For example, this past August Toronto food banks had a 51% increase in visits compared to the same month the previous year.

According to Food Banks Canada’s annual HungerCount report, there were almost 1.1-million visits to Canadian food banks in 2019. Approximately 57% of Canadian households own at least one pet. That means there are at least 627,000 Canadian pets in food bank-dependent households. There aren’t many statistics regarding Canadian food banks and pets, however, after speaking to those on the food bank front lines, the demand for pet food has never been higher.

Food bank use across the country has reached unparalleled levels, and is even 25% higher than the 2008 economic downturn. Here are some sobering statistics about food bank usage in Canada:

  • More than 840,000 individuals rely on food banks every month. This is greater than the population of New Brunswick.
  • 34% of those relying on food banks are children. Considering children account for 19% of the general population, the number of children relying on food banks is alarmingly high.
  • 16% have jobs yet still need support from food banks.
  • 10% of those visiting food banks are there for the first time.

While many food banks do their best to maintain a sustainable supply of pet food, it is often not enough, leaving many without the means to feed both two-legged and four-legged family members at the same time. This is a troubling problem, as nobody should ever be in a situation where they are forced with making that decision.

In 2018, we were proud to partner with the Meaford Food Bank (formerly known as Golden Town Outreach) to provide pet food to those in need in our community. We were shocked to learn that more than half of those relying on the Meaford Food Bank have pets.

From now until Christmas, Canadian Pet Connection (located at 278 Cook Street) is conducting a food and supply drive in support of the Meaford Food Bank. We will gladly accept the following:

  • Unopened pet food, treats, and pet supplies
  • Non-perishable human foods
  • Toys and clothing

As a Meaford-based family business, Canadian Pet Connection believes strongly in making a positive, lasting difference in our community. We love Meaford; we work here, we live here, and we are raising our young family here.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston S. Churchill

Those who can give this holiday season, please give generously. Let’s all do our part to help those in need in our community.

Brandon Forder, known as The Pet Expert, is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, an industry leader in healthy pet lifestyles. Brandon holds multiple certifications in pet nutrition, and has more than twenty-five years’ experience specializing in pet health and behaviour. He has written hundreds of informative pet-related articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, and the popular Ask the Pet Expert Blog. Brandon is highly skilled in pet problem solving, and enjoys teaching others about smart and responsible pet ownership. To learn more, visit www.CanadianPetConnection.ca.

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