How pet food banks help in times of need

10 November 2023 - 2 min read
Person holding dog bone

Taking care of your pet is a lifetime commitment but it won’t always be easy - especially when you’re struggling financially. If you’re in need and can’t afford to pay for your pet’s food, don’t despair: support is available. Dedicated pet food banks operate in locations around the UK, and help owners keep their furry companions happy and healthy. 

What are pet food banks?

Pet food banks work the same as food banks for humans, in the sense that they provide free pet food, and sometimes other pet supplies, for pet owners that are struggling financially. Run by charities and voluntary staff, pet food banks collect donations of food, and then distribute them to people in need. While there typically aren’t dedicated cat food banks or dog food banks, if you need food for your pet and can’t afford to purchase it, you’ll be able to get something tasty and nutritious at a pet food bank. 

By providing support in times of hardship, pet food banks often make the difference between families being able to keep a pet, or having to surrender it to a shelter. While it’s better not to have to use them, pet food banks ultimately promote welfare by allowing animals to remain in loving homes and maintain bonds with their owners. 

How can I find a pet food bank near me?

If you need to find a pet food bank, here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Local animal charities and shelters: Many animal charities operate food banks or know where you can find one. Reach out to organisations like the PDSA, or Dogs Trust for suggestions.

  • Online directories: A quick internet search can point you towards local pet food banks. Use long-tail keywords like “pet food assistance near me” or “animal food aid UK” for better search results.

  • Community centres and vet clinics: Local community hubs and vet clinics are often connected with pet food banks, or can guide you to the nearest one.

  • Social media groups: Platforms like Facebook host community groups where members share information about available animal welfare resources, including pet food banks.

How do I access a pet food bank?

Pet food banks are for any pet owners unable to provide food for their pets. With that in mind, you should think carefully about whether you need to use one: many pet food banks struggle to meet the local demand for food, and sometimes introduce eligibility criteria for owners. 

The eligibility criteria for pet food banks varies but you might need to provide:

  • Proof of your financial need, such as a benefits letter

  • Personal identification

  • Information about your pet, such as its size, breed, and dietary needs

How you can help

If you’re in a position to help, pet food banks always welcome donations and volunteers. Consider donating pet food, or even your time, to support these vital services in your community. In-demand items typically include:

  • Food pouches

  • Tinned food

  • Dry food such as kibble

  • Chew treats

  • Dog and cat beds

  • Blankets

  • Pet cleaning products such as shampoo

Help for every pet

No pet should go hungry, and no owner should face the agony of having to give up their pet because of financial hardship. Although their existence is an unfortunate necessity, pet food banks help keep our animal companions healthy and happy, so it’s important to reach out if you find yourself in need.

Lewis Martins
Communities marketer

Lewis has worked in pet health since 2017. Before joining ManyPets in 2021, he led content production at VetForum and PetsApp. Lewis has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest vet groups and suppliers to write educational articles for vets and pet parents. His Instagram feed is 60% dogs, 40% cats.