Like many of us, COVID-19 has caused me to alter my life. This week’s column comes courtesy of the increasing laments about not being able to get pet-related orders. 

“My order was supposed to be in yesterday and I we will be out of food tomorrow!”  “I never had to wait on hold for customer service before!” “What will happen to my order?” “My pets will starve!” “I will not feed anything else!” Internet ordering, especially Amazon Prime, gives us almost immediate gratification. But these times are different.

I feed my cats both wet and dry food. My Persian cat has food sensitivities. One dry food he could eat is no longer manufactured.  The other is not carried at many regional stores. The only way I could reliably get this food was by setting up monthly food deliveries. Two bags are enough for about five weeks for my feline crew. This has worked for years until COVID-19. It was frustrating to get the notice my monthly food delivery would come in after I ran out. I have read many posts by people saying they were going to call and complain to customer service.  What will this do? Companies are struggling to meet shipping demands and keep their staff as safe as possible. Instead of griping and whining, get active.  

Go online or to the store (if possible) and get a bag of your pet’s food. I was able to get a bag shipped in five days when I found out my regular order for April would be at least a week late. Next, increase the delivery amount. My next delivery is scheduled for early May. The bag I bought between March and April deliveries gives me a two-week buffer. I upped the May delivery to three bags. This will get me through Mid-June if the June delivery is delayed. When things get back to normal, I can reset the delivery to two bags.

The same holds true for mail ordering medications.  When I had pets on medications I mail ordered, at refill time I would contact the pharmacy. A request for refill was sent to the veterinarian. The pharmacy waited for a reply.  This could all take several days. In some cases, it could take longer. One medication was on backorder due to manufacturing issues. We needed to get approval for a different medication. Under ideal conditions, shipping could take a week.  Frequently, due to the steps, I was cutting it very close with getting needed medications on time.   

A veterinary pharmacy technician and the vet techs at my vet told me I did not have to wait to request refills. Unlike dealing with human medications where insurance companies often dictate when you can request refills, this is often not the case with veterinary prescriptions. This way we would greatly reduce the chance of not getting things on time. Also, ask your vet for 90 days’ worth of pills instead of 30.  

As for other orders, please be patient. If you know you are going to need other pet supplies, or any supplies for that matter, plan.  Do not wait until you are desperate for the item. Understand that companies doing online orders are stretched to the limit. They are doing the best they can while trying to keep their crew safer.  

Seriously, we are all in this together.  We need to be willing to adapt instead of taking out frustrations on others who are doing what they can to keep up with the demand for supplies.

Karen Peak is the developer of The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project and owner/operator of West Wind Dog Training in Prince William County.

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