Do Food Banks Have Pet Food? Keeping your Best Friend Fed

Times are tough for many people these days, and countless Americans are finding themselves in situations where they need help. Among the most difficult of these challenges is finding ways to take care of your best furry friend when money gets tight. If you’re running out of pet food and not sure where to turn, keep reading below to learn more about food banks for pets and where you can find them.

Do Food Banks Have Pet Food? Are There Food Banks for Pets?

Yes, some do. Yes, there are. There are tons of pet food banks across the country, and this directory can help you find one close to you. It contains all the registered food banks in the country, which will be helpful if you’re looking for an establishment closest to you.

What’s great about the directory is that it updates itself, making sure you won’t go to a place that’s no longer there. Other establishments call themselves pet food pantries, which are often located in major cities. These are hyper-localized establishments, which means they may not pop up in the national directory.

Googling them is worth a try, but if they’re new, there’s a chance they won’t appear in a local search. Your best bet here will be to ask around for any local establishments that provide the support you need. Approaching your local animal welfare group or no-kill shelter is ideal as they’re likely to know about resources in the area.

Where You Can Find a Local Food Bank For Pet Food

If you use or know a food pantry in your local community, you can definitely ask them for pet foods. You can also ask about any pet-specific food banks. Often, these charity organizations have affiliations with one another, no matter who they serve.

You can also go online to see what food banks are available in your area. Check programs like Meals on Wheels and Chow Wagon. Some food banks also try to support local families with pet dogs, cats, fish, and more.

How To Get Food Bank Pet Food

Once you’ve found one nearby, reach out to the establishment and get as much info as you can. When are they open? What do they have available? This advance research is so everything will go smoothly as you arrive at the pet food bank. 

Many of these pet food banks require prior notice before you can get food from them. Often, contacting them will have them asking you about your current situation. They may ask you about why you need support and how long you need it. If your pet has any special needs, be sure to let them know.

Once you’ve called ahead, confirmed availability, and are ready to pick up your pet food, don’t forget to bring an ID with you. If the establishment asked you to fill out an application form on their website, take a screenshot of that, too.

Doing this ensures there’s no reason for you to get turned away when you’re there. You may have to try a few places until you find one that can help, but don’t give up. Your best friend is counting on you.

Benefits of Using Pet Food Banks

Pet Health and Happiness

As a pet owner, it’s your job to keep your loyal friend healthy and happy. Healthy pets need to eat regular, pet-appropriate meals. Some people food on a limited basis is probably all right, but you also need to know the people foods you mustn’t feed to pets.

Some of these foods include nuts, dairy, salty foods, and especially chocolate, which can be deadly to dogs. Remember that your pet dog or cat has different biology than you. If you feed your pet people food without checking if it’s good for them, you risk the health of your dog or cat.

It’s also a great idea to spay or neuter your pet. Doing so will help them live longer, healthier, happier lives, and will also dramatically reduce the inconvenience of pet ownership. You can find low-cost spay and neuter programs throughout the US.

More Flexibility With Your Limited Expenses

Food banks can also help ease up some of your expenses. Instead of having to buy pet food from the grocery store, you can use it to meet other basic needs instead. Until you know that you can get back on your feet again, you can always depend on pet food banks.

Communication With Your Local Community

There is a social aspect to using food bank services as well. Food banks provide programs to their community so that you can make friends from that neighborhood. You get to meet other pet owners and pets which your pet may get along with.

You never know what kind of relationships you’ll get out of it. You may find lifelong friends, partners, and family from it. You may even see old faces you thought you’d never see again.

Other Sources of Pet Food

If you can’t find a food bank to help you with pet food, you can look to other resources.

Look for breed-specific organizations that advocate aid to low-income pet owners. Breed advocacy groups can help you out if your pet is the same breed they’re advocating for. Look through Facebook or other places online to find these groups in your locale.

Local pet or grocery stores may have samples or donation programs available. Ask an employee, or send the store a message.

The Veterinary Option

If there’s no nearby establishment that offers food bank pet food, your local veterinary practice may be able to help in a crisis situation. Veterinary clinics in your area may have joined charitable programs for pets, or may have a list of other resources. Some might provide free or low-cost foods to families who need them, even if only some samples to get you through the day.

Pay it Forward: Helping People and Pets Stay Together

When the time comes and your finances get on more solid ground, don’t forget to pay it forward and help others who need support with their pets, too.

One way to do that might be contributing to a low-cost or free vet care program or clinic in your area. You could donate as much as you want and let the practice allocate those funds to their patients in need. Cans of unopened pet food and other animal supplies might also be appreciated here.

Another way to give back to the community is to go back to your local food bank with your own donation of pet food. It’s the same act of kindness from others that helped you out before, after all.

Besides giving back, you also provide the same aid and benefits we mentioned above to other pet owners. You give others the chance to keep their pets healthy and to be more flexible with their finances, and more.

When you give, you’ll experience the satisfaction and joy that you can only get from helping others. Especially pets!

If this article about pet food banks was helpful, you may qualify for free wireless service through the federal Lifeline program. You can check your eligibility now by clicking here.