Struggling to Put Food on the Table? Don’t Forget Your Pets

( – When you experience difficult times, every family member is at risk and can suffer — including your beloved pets. Even pets in good health have expenses, including veterinary bills, medication, care costs, and feeding. If you’re experiencing a financial downturn, you might not be able to feed your pets as well as you want.

The last thing you want to do when you’re experiencing difficulty is to let go of a beloved family member, but pets are expensive. Pets provide emotional support and friendship. They will love you through everything — whether you’re sick or well, employed or not.

Fortunately, there are many types of organizations that work to help families in need to maintain their pets. While most work locally, the types of aid they offer and the level of specificity differ from organization to organization.

Pet Shelters Can Help

You might think of a pet shelter as a place you go to if you need to abandon your pet, or somewhere you seek if you’re looking to adopt a new, loving pet into your home. However, pet shelters also engage in preventing pet abandonment and in helping families.

Some run vet care programs in the vein of prevention, and others have food banks to help you get the food your pet needs. The ASPCA website has more details.

Pet Welfare Charities Are Resources

Pet-oriented NGOs (non-governmental organizations) exist to help with the treatment, care, and feeding of pets. If you are low-income and your pet needs medical attention or food, they might help. Each has their own requirements, and all are excellent resources for ensuring you can stay with your pet and take care of them.

Veterinary Clinics May Help

Many veterinary clinics in the United States provide charitable programs to ensure free and low-cost food for families in need. They can also offer spay and neuter services, low-cost vaccination, and during the pandemic, disease management. Ask your local veterinary clinics for more information.

Breed-Specific Resources

If your dog or cat is a specific breed, you know how passionate pet parents can be about ensuring the wellbeing of similar loving creatures. Breed-related organizations often provide assistance or allow for fundraising opportunities. If your pet has a specific breed, it’s likely they can help. If you aren’t sure of your pet’s breed, ask a veterinarian and then locate a breed-specific organization.

Facebook is a fantastic resource for breed-specific organizations — and to find other pet parents who can point you in the right direction. You can also learn breed-specific health information there.

While you’re on Facebook, check out your local “Buy Nothing” group. Buy Nothing groups let community members provide and take free items. Give something you don’t need and post an ask for pet food.

Pet Store Supplies

Some pet stores will subsidize food for pets in need. If your difficult financial circumstances are new and you’re a loyal customer, a pet store might be more willing to help you out. Some participate in charitable work and may take applications for help from low-income families.

Pet food manufacturers can also help, and some provide samples to customers. Your pet store can also provide guidance here.

Religious Organizations

Churches, mosques, and synagogues provide food and clothing to needy families. Donations often include pet supplies and related items. A congregation could also come up with some coupons for you to use. Most will help you even if you are not a member of their organization.

Food Pantries

While we always think of food pantries as excellent local resources for human food, the truth is that they also often stock household supplies and pet food. Make sure to check out your local food pantry with your pet in mind.

No one likes to see pets suffer, or families part with pets. Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help you with the cost of feeding for your pet and caring for their medical needs.

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