Last Updated on January 8, 2023 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP) or Food Stamps, do not cover pet (dog or cat) food and are only for food for household members. Although you cannot buy dog food with SNAP or food stamps, there are other resources that can be used to assist pet owners. If you need assistance with pet food, there are many places to go.
Your pets are important to you, no matter if you have one cat or a lot of dogs. Even if you have a limited budget, it is important to ensure your pets get the nutrition they need to thrive.
Is it Possible to Buy Dog Food with SNAP or Food Stamps?
Unfortunately, but the answer is no. There are strict rules regarding what you can and cannot purchase with a SNAP card. This includes pet food. Other items not covered by SNAP include alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins and supplements, and non-food items. SNAP was created to help you purchase healthy, nutritious food for yourself and your family such as:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Cereals and breads
- Dairy products
- Snack foods
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- You can grow your own food with seeds and plants
You can use SNAP benefits at Walmart, grocery stores and convenience stores as well as other retailers that sell food.
How can I Buy Dog Food with No money and Food Stamps Doesn’t Cover It?
Although SNAP doesn’t cover pet food costs, there are resources that can be used to assist pet owners who are in financial need. These programs offer assistance to pet owners and their families who are struggling to care for their pet. These programs can make the difference between keeping a pet you love and having to surrender it to a shelter.
Other Assistance Programs to Buy Dog Food for Your Pets without Food Stamps
- The Humane Society has a complete directory of resources that provide financial support or donations to pet food and veterinary care. You can also find local assistance for pet food in your area by using the state-by-state directory.
- CoFund My Pet offers an online directory that will help you locate pet food pantries or pet food banks near you.
- Red Rover, a non-profit organization, lends financial support to pet owners with low income. It provides financial assistance to pet owners with low incomes and those who have been victims of domestic violence or COVID-19. Visit their website to learn more.
- Pet owners with low incomes who require veterinary care can get financial assistance through the Pet Fund.
Other Options to Buy Dog Food without Food Stamps
Local Pet Shelters
If the shelter receives sufficient funding, they may be able to provide food donations to low-income pet families. Many shelters may have pet food banks that are similar to traditional food banks and available to pet owners who require them. To find out what type of assistance they provide, contact your local shelter. The Petfinder website has a list of animal welfare organizations by state.
Many rural and underserved areas have many vet clinics that provide food assistance for families in need. Many also sponsor or hold low-cost spay/neutering and vaccination programs.
Churches and Other Religious Institutions
You might find one that hosts pet food drives or pet food banks. To receive pet food assistance, many of these institutions don’t require you to be a member.
Pet food Manufacturers
Many manufacturers offer free samples to customers who request them. Although it is not a permanent solution to pet food assistance, some samples can be helpful for a few days.
hese clubs, organizations and social networks are great resources for pet food assistance. You can find breed advocacy groups on social media platforms like Facebook. The American Kennel Club (AKC), offers a searchable directory listing rescue groups by breed.
Ask your local pet shop if they offer discounts for pet food products that are needed-based. Bartering services may be possible in return for a lower price.
Craigslist and Other Online Forums
In some cases people have too many pet foods or the wrong type of food. Or they have food leftovers from a pet’s death. You may be able to find people who are willing to part with these items at a greatly reduced price or free of charge. When transacting online with people, be cautious and use common sense.