Welcome to Free Food For Dogs—a place for recipes and tips for making the healthiest, tastiest dog food possible. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make food that your pup will love!
We’ve seen first-hand how much of a difference the right food can make in a dog’s life. Our family has been making natural food for our dogs since we adopted our first corgi puppy, Momo, in 2012. The change in her energy level was immediate, and she went from being a little bit lethargic to a full-on energizer bunny. It was like she had no idea how much energy she even had until we fed her natural food!
Since then, we’ve made it our mission to help other dog owners understand the importance of good food, and how easily they can provide it to their furry family members. We’ll help you get started with our easy-to-follow recipes and tips on where to buy quality ingredients
Free Food For Dogs
Financial troubles are difficult for every member of your family – including your dog. In fact, if you really get painted into a financial corner, you may have trouble affording your pet’s food.
Fortunately, many non-profit groups and other organizations have programs designed to help owners in exactly these types of circumstances. Most of these resources are administered on a local level, so the specifics vary from one location to the next. You may need to do a little digging to discover what’s available in your area.
But, we’ll direct you towards some of the best places to start below. We’ll also explain a few other ways for low-income families to obtain other pet supplies and services for little or no money.
Common Sources for Free or Low-Cost Dog Food
A variety of organizations and businesses are willing to help low-income families feed their pets. Some of the most notable include:
1. Pet Shelters
Pet shelters often struggle to keep the animals under their care fed, but some of the most successful ones receive enough funding to provide food to needy families too. Some even establish pet-food banks!
Use this ASPCA resource to find shelters in your area.
2. Dog- or Pet-Oriented Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations come in a variety of flavors – they aren’t all shelters. Many non-profits have programs designed to help feed dogs that live with low-income families. For example, the Humane Society of the United States (related to, but different from, your local Humane Society Shelter) maintains a list of resources available to low-income dog and cat owners.
3. Veterinary Clinics
Some vets – particularly those in rural or impoverished areas – participate in charitable programs that provide free or low-cost dog food to families in need. Many will also provide reduced fees for spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and other services. Once again, the HSUS is here to help you find low-cost veterinary services.
4. Breed-Specific Organizations
Many breed advocacy groups and clubs provide assistance to low-income families. You’ll have to search for organizations that focus on your dog’s breed, but this AKC Parent Club List will make it easy to get started.
Also make sure to find breed advocacy groups online (even Facebook groups), as you may find locals who would gladly assist a fellow owner, even if that means shipping over food from another part of the country.
5. Pet Stores
Your local pet store may be willing to cut you a deal on your dog food bill if you explain your circumstances. Others may even be willing to let you barter services in exchange for dog food.
6. Religious Institutions
Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions often provide assistance to low-income families, and this may include donating dog food.
You’re most likely to obtain assistance from your own religious institution, but many are willing to help anyone in need, regardless of religious affiliation.
Some manufacturers offer free dog food samples – you simply need to write or call them and make a request. You won’t be able to feed your dog over the long-term with free samples, and you don’t want to be constantly changing your dog’s food (this can cause intestinal issues), but a few free trial-size bags of dog food in your cupboard may help out in a pinch.
8. Online Message Boards (Craigslist, etc.)
Whether they simply purchased too much food, had to rehome a dog, or purchased a bag of kibble that their dog didn’t like, people occasionally find themselves with surplus food and pet supplies on hand. These folks will often decide to simply give these items away, so it’s worth searching Craigslist’s “free” section and other online message boards.
You should obviously be very careful when doing so, as you won’t know the person making the donation. But if you’re truly in a bind, this may be a viable option.
Other Forms of Assistance for Low-Income Pet Owners
Food isn’t the only thing your dog needs. He’ll also need a bed, collar, leash, some toys, and other items. Fortunately, there are a few avenues by which you can often find low-cost or free versions of these supplies.
Your vet may be willing to provide services at reduced fees. Most vets go into the field of animal care because they love animals. This means that they’ll often be willing to work with you to ensure you can afford the care your pet needs. They may be willing to reduce the fees associated with various services or allow you to pay for services over time. Also check out our list of organizations that help pay for veterinary bills, as that may be another way you can cut down on the cost of your dog’s medical care.
Local pet stores – especially those of the mom-and-pop variety – may be willing to give discounts to people having trouble affording their pet’s needs. They may also be able to give you a heads up regarding upcoming sales, clearance events, or similar promotions.
Social media networks often give you the chance to speak with other dog owners and find unique opportunities. You can search for mentions of free dog supplies or send out a message or request to your friends and acquaintances. This is often a great way to acquire second-hand beds, crates, and similar items.
As with foods, some manufacturers will provide free samples – often in exchange for a review on Amazon, Yelp, or some other website. Don’t get too excited; manufacturers aren’t going to line up to send you a free crate or dog bed, but some may provide low-cost items (such as ID tags, collars, supplements, or grooming products) in exchange for your honest feedback about the product.
Free dog food for homeless
The Pet Food Bank is the heart and soul of The Pongo Fund. A no frills warehouse packed with thousands of bags of super-premium and nutritious dog and cat food. Staffed by a volunteer driven team that gives from the heart. It is a place filled with love. Love and food. Food that stands at the ready to be shared with those struggling to keep their own pets fed. Because when people must choose what to cut from their grocery lists, pets often are among those that suffer most.
And for those who can’t afford to keep their pets fed, the consequences are greater than just an empty stomach. Many pets will be surrendered to already overburdened shelters, many more will be abandoned. Finding new homes for these pets are never guaranteed. Families will be torn apart and lives will be lost, simply because there’s not enough money to buy pet food.
But that’s where The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank comes in. Because we’re solving that problem head on by providing emergency pet food assistance for the hungry pets of people when they need us most. When both they and their pets are hungry. Hungry people who turn to us by the thousands every month for help feeding their hungry pets when there is nowhere else to turn. Because their pets are family too. And by helping feed their pets, that means the people will have more food for themselves. Plus a few dollars remaining to pay for some of life’s necessities.
The difficulty of keeping pets fed used to be a problem limited primarily to the homeless community. But not anymore. Because the hungry pets of the homeless are being joined more and more by the hungry pets of people who simply are having trouble making ends meet…middle-class folks pummeled by the economy, white-collar workers recently laid off; the unemployed, the underemployed, single parents, heroic victims of domestic violence, proud war veterans, the disabled, fixed income seniors and more.
Imagine an 82 year-old grandmother with a 16 year-old cat named Whiskers that is her only family. A cat who means more to her than anything else. Which is why she gives up her own lunch to feed Whiskers. At least that’s what she did before she found us. But now we provide cat food to keep Whiskers fed, so she can enjoy her own lunch to keep herself fed. And that 82 year old grandmother? What if she were your grandmother?
And that’s exactly why we’ve created The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank; Oregon’s only full-time pet food charity. It’s a genuine gift for the entire community…lending a hand when times are tough. And we’ve also been able to facilitate the spay and neuter for more than 1,000 of those pets. Vaccinations and veterinary care too.
With the generous support of a variety of suppliers including Canidae All Natural Pet Foods, Petcurean, Nulo and more, The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has provided more than 25 million lifesaving meals for more than 191,000 hungry and beloved animals throughout Oregon, Washington and beyond. Allowing them to stay safe at home and out of the shelters. Because sometimes, a simple bowl of kibble is the force that both keeps a family together and saves the lives of the animals they love.
Ways to Get Free or Low-Cost Dog Food
There are many online coupon websites that provide coupons for dog food. These include Coupon Mom, Eversave, and RetailMeNot. You can also find printable coupons in the Sunday paper or on grocery store receipts! This is a great way to save money without having to spend any precious resources.
Pet shelters are another place where you can find free or low-cost pet food. This food is usually reserved for dogs that have been rescued and are waiting to be adopted. You can call your local shelter or visit their website in order to find out where you should go or what the requirements of adopting a dog from them are.
Pet Based Non-Profit Groups
There are many pet-based non-profits that are willing to help in times of need. These groups will usually offer free or low-cost dog food and supplies to people with financial difficulties. You can also find a list of these organizations by visiting your local animal shelter or looking online.
If you have a pet food bank in your area, they may also offer low-cost dog food to those who need it most. You can find these organizations by going online and searching for “pets” or “pet food banks.”
Check at your local vet to see if they are able to help you. After all, vets usually become vets because they love animals. They want to help people take care of their pets so they may be able to provide some free or low-cost dog food, as well as other necessities.
Even if your vet doesn’t offer price-reduced products, they may lower the price of their services if you tell them you’re having difficulties. Many vets partner with charitable organizations to help people with financial difficulties.
Some pet stores may be willing to sell products at a reduced price. Even if the store is not able to lower their prices, they may be willing to donate some dog food or offer you special deals on other pet supplies that you need.
Some stores also have regular programs for people who are unable to purchase enough dog food for themselves and their pets because of financial difficulties.
Many places of worship also run a food bank for their members to supplement their own groceries in times of need. These institutions normally rely on donations. These institutions normally rely on donations. Because donations can vary, they may also receive dog food.
A search on your city or town’s website should give you a list of churches, synagogues and mosques that offer free or low-cost services for their members. Don’t discount these places if you are not a member. Many simply want to give assistance to those in need.
Manufacturers may also be an option if you are looking for free or low-cost dog food. Some companies offer coupons or promotions for free food. Other manufacturers may also be an option to check out, even if you don’t see them offering anything like this online. If you don’t see any offers on a manufacturer’s website, you can quickly send them an email. You’ll be surprised by what you can receive if you just ask.
Free Pet Food & Supplies
If you live in the New York City area and need a little help affording food and supplies for your pets, there are programs that can help.
Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) Community Pets Program
ACC’s Pet Food Pantry, housed at their Bronx Admissions Center, is available for dog and cat owners who live in the Bronx who may be experiencing difficulties in providing food for their animal companions. Owners must meet requirements and sign an enrollment agreement in order to begin receiving pet food.
Pet Food Pantry – ACC Bronx Admissions Center
464 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458
Feeding Pets of the Homeless: Distributing Organizations
Feeding Pets of the Homeless works with distributing organizations — local food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters — who have agreed to distribute the pet food to the homeless and poor in their communities around the country.
Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City sometimes has pet food available at its food pantries (availability depends on how much food has been donated). Contact the location nearest you for more information.
Free Dog Food and Cat Food
f you’re having trouble affording dog food and cat food, you may have a variety of solutions to check out before re-homing your companion animal. Animal shelters increasingly recognize they can avoid contributing to shelter overpopulation by thinking outside the box. Food programs are popping up in many different venues to help you keep your cat or dog right at home.
Why Keeping a Pet Matters
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.
Where to Find Free Pet Food
If you’re in search of sources of free pet food, you’re not alone. In fact, many organizations are aware of the issue and have created resources to help. For example:
- Some animal shelters maintain a pet food bank. When a distraught companion animal guardians visit the shelter with the intent to surrender their animal, instead of signing a surrender form they are given an application for food subsistence.
- 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.
- 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.
How to Request Or Provide Help with Finding Pet Food
If you’re not sure where to start looking for or providing free pet food, you may find these suggestions help to break the ice.
- 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.