Free Dog Food and Cat Food

Help is available for hungry companion animals

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Lin, Doris. "Free Dog Food and Cat Food." ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/free-dog-and-cat-food-127751. Lin, Doris. (2017, February 5). Free Dog Food and Cat Food. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/free-dog-and-cat-food-127751 Lin, Doris. "Free Dog Food and Cat Food." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/free-dog-and-cat-food-127751 (accessed October 19, 2017).
A cat and dog eating out of separate food bowls together
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Updated and edited by Michelle A. Rivera, About.com Animal Rights Expert.

If you're having trouble affording dog food and cat food, you may have a variety of solutions to check out before surrendering or re-homing your companion animal. Animal shelters increasingly recognize they can avoid contributing to shelter overpopulation by thinking outside the box. A beloved family companion animal may not need to be taken into an already overfilled shelter; perhaps with a little financial help, animals can stay with their families.

Food programs are popping up locally, statewide and nationally to help you keep your cat or dog right at home.

What’s For Dinner?

When personal finances tank, putting food on the table is challenging enough without adding a few furry faces to feed. But it’s when things are at their lowest point that when the true value and worth of animals become crystal clear. Writing for Webmd.com, Dr. Ian Cook, psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, says "Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression… "Taking care of a pet can help give you a sense of your own value and importance. It will remind you that you are capable -- that you can do more than you might think. "A little boost in attitude and outlook could mean a lot to someone who is feeling pretty hopeless. Looking for an alternative to giving up your companion animal will not only give you a mission, it will remind you of the kindness of other humans; something of which we all need to be reminded from time to time, but especially in cases of misfortune.

Some animal shelters maintain a pet food bank. When a distraught companion animal guardians visit the shelter with the intent to surrender their animal, what if instead of signing a surrender form they were given an application for food subsistence? Shelters all over the country are finding ways to keep families together, including the four-footed members.

When local and state authorities see poor and elderly animal guardians putting their own health at risk by sharing what little food they have with the animal they love, they know they need to step in a find a solution. Identifying the problem is more than halfway towards solving it.  Meals on Wheels found that pets are the only family that some seniors have and that some of their clients were sharing their meals with their pets when they couldn't afford pet food. In 2006, Meals on Wheels started the We All Love Our Pets (WALOP) initiative. Not all local Meals on Wheels programs offer pet food, so check with your local program.

Also, the Humane Society of the United States maintains a list of national and local organizations that offer free pet food, low-cost spay/neuter services, and temporary foster care if you need help.

Take action: Ask your local shelter if they have a pet food bank. If you are not in need of one at the moment, offer to start one. Use search engines to research “pet food banks and meals on wheels programs in (your city). You may be surprised at all the good things that are happening in your own community. Talk to your grocer about saving dented and newly out-of-date pet food items and donating them to a shelter where you may be able to avail yourself of same.

Use social media to let everyone you know you are taking up a collection to build a food bank and ask for donated food items once intended for a now deceased animal.

Got produce? Dr. Jennifer Coates, author of Dictionary of Veterinary Terms, Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian, asserts “It is true that dogs belong to the order Carnivora, but they are actually omnivores. The canine body has the ability to transform certain amino acids, the building blocks or protein, into others, meaning that dogs can get all the amino acids they need while avoiding meat.” (Note: cats are obligate carnivores, so don’t try an all-veg diet with them.) This means if you can pull together some rice and veggies, you can provide a healthy diet for your dog without incurring pet food bills.

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Where to Get Help

First, contact your local shelter, rescue group or humane society. Many of these groups have programs that distribute free cat food and dog food to those in need. The best place for your cats and dogs is with you, so they will do what they can to help you keep your pets.

If you are also having trouble feeding yourself and your human family, ask your local food bank or Meals on Wheels program if they offer dog food and cat food. Recognizing that pets are also a part of the family, some food banks distribute dog food and cat food, as well as human food. Meals on Wheels found that pets are the only family that some seniors have and that some of their clients were sharing their meals with their pets when they couldn't afford pet food. In 2006, Meals on Wheels started the We All Love Our Pets (WALOP) initiative. Not all local Meals on Wheels programs offer pet food, so check with your  local program.

Also, the Humane Society of the United States maintains a list of national and local organizations that offer free pet food, low-cost spay/neuter services, and temporary foster care if you need help.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lin, Doris. "Free Dog Food and Cat Food." ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/free-dog-and-cat-food-127751. Lin, Doris. (2017, February 5). Free Dog Food and Cat Food. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/free-dog-and-cat-food-127751 Lin, Doris. "Free Dog Food and Cat Food." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/free-dog-and-cat-food-127751 (accessed October 19, 2017).