HONOLULU (KHON2) — Our furry friends are the latest victims of supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many residents in Hawaii have noticed empty shelves in the pet food aisles at some of the big-box retailers lately.

Check out more news from around Hawaii

One dog owner drove from Waianae to Waipio in search of food for her five dogs late Thursday evening. She told KHON2 she typically buys big bags at Costco in Kapolei or Walmart, but couldn’t find any at either place for over a week.

She said she was lucky when Costco Waipio received a small shipment of dry dog food Thursday evening.

The night before though, one North Shore resident had to settle on buying dog biscuits for his three dogs; two of which are great mastiffs and weigh over 130 pounds each.

“I’ve been to Mililani Walmart probably close to have a dozen times and got one small bag one time and that was it within the past five weeks,” explained Nick Davis. “I went to Sam’s Club twice and they were out each time, and I was able to get one 35-pound bag from Costco one time and then they were out and I had to buy dog biscuits.”

Tina Yamaki from Retail Merchants of Hawaii said shipping and manufacturing are playing a role too.

“We’re also seeing a shortage on some ingredients that go into pet foods, and like everything, everyone is short of workers too so the output of the pet food is a lot less,” said Yamaki.

Pet food made with eggs could also be impacted at this time.

Local pet stores said they haven’t noticed a change in supply and have plenty of food in stock.

But humans with more than one animal said buying smaller bags is costly and doesn’t last long.

“It would cost way too much and some of those 15 or 18-pound bags I would go through in less than a week,” said Davis.

The Hawaiian Humane Society has a pet food bank for those struggling to find pet food.

“We offer free pet food for cats, dogs, kittens, sometimes we even have rabbit food. You just have to come down and apply. Our friendly team will talk with you and access your needs and help you out,” said Thomas Hanns, communications coordinator at the Hawaiian Humane Society.

The humane society is locationed in town and West Oahu. They recommend going to their website first to learn more.

If owners are forced to buy a new brand or switch from dry to wet food, vets suggest introducing the new food slowly.

Dogs tend to get used to one diet over time, so switching quickly can cause gastrointestinal upset,” explained Dr. Maureen Rankin, a veterinarian at Alii Animal Kailua. “Our general recommendation is to give it four to seven days, depending on the dog, slowly increasing the amount of new food while decreasing old food.”

Dogs also need time to adjust to the bacteria in the gut.

“If the dog is actually feeling lethargic or not wanting to eat, those are reasons that you would need to seek veterinary care,” Rankin added. “Sometimes they just really get a bellyache from your food, so you just got to get them through it.”

The shortage of pet food ingredients and worker shortages are causing the price of pet food to go up substantially, according to Yamaki.

“It’s not just one thing we can fix, and it’s all going to be okay. We’re seeing it’s a multitude of issues that have kind of all become the perfect storm,” she said.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

For now, pet owners will need to exercise patience when searching for larger bags of pet food and explore alternative options when necessary to ensure their furry friends are fed and healthy.