Major UK supermarkets have warned that they are experiencing shortages of cat and dog food amid a surge in people acquiring pets during the pandemic.

Brexit is also said to have led to shipments being delayed at UK borders due to "faulty UK guidance".

Sainsbury's issued an email to online customers apologising for cat and dog food pouches being unavailable due to a "national shortage".

The company goes on to say that the supply issues are expected to be ongoing through the year but said it was working hard to resolve the problem.

Sainsbury's attributed the shortage to more pets being bought or acquired over the past year.

Tesco said branded cat food pouches were experiencing "particularly strong demand" but said it has been working closely with suppliers to meet this demand.

Figures suggest an estimated 2.1million people across the UK collected a new pet in lockdown as more people shifted to home working.

Research by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) said the data highlighted a spike in younger owners aged 24-35.

Nicole Paley, PFMA Deputy Chief Executive, said it was important that pet owners considered future possible obstacles, including a return to office working.

The PFMA also warned that the impact of Brexit on supplies had been "more challenging that we thought" with shipments delayed at borders due to paperwork not being in order.

Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive, said: "It turns out that, in the main, this is not due to lack of preparation by exporters, but faulty guidance by government to the vets who sign off the certificates.

"This will hopefully be sorted out over time, but time is not what companies have right now as the cost of having product stuck at the border is very high.

"It will be some time before the dust settles."

He added: "We can then see what are just ‘teething problems’with new systems and what will remain aslong term barriers to trade.

"This trade deal will impact all our members for many years to come and while our focus in the short term is assisting members to continue to trade with our biggest partner, we will also be focusing on helping to open new markets."

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said: "We are seeing an increased demand for pet food pouches and are working hard to maintain stock levels. We continue to offer a range of canned and dry options.”