During times of economic hardship, more and more dog owners are finding themselves confronted with an impossible and heart-breaking decision. When they can’t afford to buy food for their dog, many owners see no other choice than to bring their dog to a shelter and surrender him.
Pet Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens
Fortunately, some areas now have pet food banks and pet soup kitchens to supply dog food to owners who are struggling financially, allowing dogs to remain in their loving homes rather than go into shelters. Since the economic downturn began, pet food pantries have seen a sharp increase in the number of pet owners seeking assistance. These pet food banks and soup kitchens can be found from Long Island, New York to Santa Cruz, California, and rely on donations of pet food and supplies to continue to offer assistance to pets and owners in need.
Not all dogs in need are lucky enough to have caring homes with owners who do their best to provide for them. Animal shelters across the country are full of dogs that have been surrendered by their owners, or have suffered abuse or abandonment. Many of these shelters are under-funded, struggling to cover their charges’ basic needs on a thin budget. Donating dog food products to these shelters helps keep the animals they provide for fed and healthy, while enabling the shelters to direct their funds toward other priorities, like vaccinations, spay and neuter programs, other veterinary care, and pet adoption efforts.
Dog Rescue Programs
Rescue organizations also rely on the donation of dog food in order to continue their efforts in saving canine lives. Whether they focus on a specific breed of dog, or accept all pets in need of good homes, animal rescues often accept the overflow of homeless pets from government-run shelters that have limited space, often saving dogs from being euthanized due to lack of room. These rescues are typically run entirely by volunteers and need donations of food to feed the animals they take in.
How You Can Help
While some shelters will be glad to see you show up on their doorstep with a bag of food in hand, other organizations have specific needs and requirements. If you decide to donate food to a pet food bank, shelter, or rescue, it’s best to call ahead and find out what they need; it could be that they’ve received several donations of dry dog food already that month, but are running very low on canned. Rescues and shelters geared toward helping abandoned or neglected dogs often require high quality food, to help malnourished rescue dogs recover and become healthy again, and shelters that frequently receive lots of puppies may need donations of puppy food rather than adult dog food. Some organizations will list the products they need regularly on their website. Even a single bag of food can make all the difference to a dog in need.