As if life in Venezuela wasn’t dire enough already, pet owners are coming to grips with the fact that they need to ration pet food for their dogs and cats, according to a new report which states that pet stores in Venezuela are now struggling to keep their shelves stocked.
Reuters recently reported that pet food manufacturers have been forced to slow or stop operations because they lack enough money to import food items, such as white corn and soy. Although these items are plentiful in neighboring countries and theoretically shouldn’t be difficult to import, Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, has experienced such extreme inflation that few foreign companies are willing to do business across the border.
Making pet food from scratch at home isn’t an option either, Reuters said. These homemade recipes typically call for large amounts of chicken or beef, and at this point, only a minority of Venezuelans can afford meat of any sort.
Even in the U.S., the typical American family only has enough money saved up to cover about six months of expenses — so it should come as no surprise that the average Venezuelan household began struggling financially just weeks after the price of crude oil began to drop.
Medical supplies for pets are also running out, and part of the reason is because Venezuelans in need of prescription medications have begun taking the meds intended for animals.
A Fox Latino article from this past August stated that people had begun ransacking vet clinics after their pharmacies became depleted. A drug like prednisone, for example, can be manufactured as either a human or a veterinary version. Both versions can treat the same conditions and work in a similar way, but they have slightly different ingredients which impact the drug’s effectiveness if the animal version is taken by a human, and vice versa.
Now that the pet stores are even running low on supplies, it’s unclear how Venezuelans will manage.
The Wall Street Journal reported this past August that according to a national survey, 20% of Venezuelans were only eating two meals a day during the first quarter of 2015. By the second quarter, this percentage rose to 30% nationwide.
But any pet owners will know that being unable to feed a beloved dog or cat is possibly more heartbreaking than being unable to fill your own stomach enough — and many Venezuelans are willing to make that sacrifice, if need be.
“I only have two or three kilos (of dog food) left,” said Maura Morales, 41, as she looked for more food for her dog Milo. “If I can’t find more, I’ll give him rice and carrots.”