While the shortage of baby formula has been grabbing the headlines for months, the issues around importing pet food have been slightly overlooked, but they have also gotten more complicated due to the many forces that have been buffeting the global supply chain, such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine.

It’s a massive sector of the economy. USA Customs Clearance reports that Americans spend over $70 billion on pet food annually, and a lot of that is imported from overseas. 

Specifics of Shipping Pet Food

We cherish our pets and worry about them almost as much as our children. The family pet is a huge part of most American households. Feeding them well is so important, and the trade in pet food is well regulated and something that people should know more about. 

The FDA regulates the quality of pet food coming into the country. The agency requires pet and animal foods to be safe and wholesome, contain no deleterious, harmful, or unapproved substances, and be truthfully labeled. Products are subjected to examination when they cross the border, and if they do not meet standards, they may be prohibited from coming in. 

Shipping pet food to the USA can be lucrative if you work with the right shipping company, and make the effort to comply with all the regulations required.        

What is the Process for Shipping Pet Food?

As worries of zoonotic diseases like Covid have become so prevalent around the world, the shipping of animals and animal products is being more highly regulated and carefully watched. 

Most pet food distributors have no interest in global supply chain logistics. It’s not what they do. So when it comes to shipping pet food, most people partner with a company that has consolidated experience in the field of shipments, that can offer the highest levels of protection along the entire supply chain, and can guarantee the safety and integrity of the merchandise for the good of the clients and, of course, all of our beloved pets.

Important Considerations in Shipping Pet Food

When you import pet food into the U.S, it is vital that you comply with regulations from the FDA and other government agencies and that pet food is properly labeled. That means HTSUS codes and commercial invoices, clearance bonds, bills of lading, and much more. 

Mistakes in certification are costly, resulting in the shipments being detained, delayed, or in some cases, destroyed. The amount of detailed paperwork and strict regulations involved is considerable, and it requires a steady hand that understands the interconnected nature of global trade. Getting one or two digits wrong of the HTSUS codes on your shipments, for example, will lead to costly delays.

Of course, it’s not just in the US where demand for pet food is increasing. It’s a global phenomenon. The Worlds Top Exports website reports that Germany exports over $2 billion of pet food annually, accounting for 12.7% of the global market, followed by the US ($1.7 billion) and France, and importers need to pay careful attention to the changing market costs and the vagaries of the supply chain. 

Great business for those who do the work

Pet food imports make up the biggest section of the pet supplies market.  If you learn to navigate the supply chain properly and you are conscious of the ingredients you are importing, then you can do very well importing pet food. 

Understand the regulations, work with a trusted, experienced partner like OL USA, and with a few good choices, you’re well on your way to creating a great business. 


Interested in shipping pet food? OL USA is the right company!  Did you know that pet supplies will always require a customs bond regardless of the size or value of the shipment? Those kinds of details are important to get right.

We will ensure that all government regulations are adhered to. And don’t forget, OL USA is C-TPAT certified.

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