Where to Donate Dog and Cat Food: Help Pets and Declutter

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Many of us have been there, you’re decluttering your home and come across some pet food that just didn’t sit right with your dog or cat, but where do you donate it? Let’s dive into the awesome world of helping animals in need while learning conscious consumption, responsible disposal and donations.

dry pet food on a floor in a metal bowl. pet food can be donated to help pets in need

Why Declutter Pet Food and Other Supplies?

If you’re decluttering your home, you might find things your pet no longer uses or can’t use. Often, we don’t know what to do with pet supplies, so we just shove them in the back of the cabinet which doesn’t help the clutter situation.

 In our house, we use wood pellets for litter, but once a cat we were adopting came with standard cat litter. We don’t need this kicking around anymore. 

We also have an adorable cat, Crumpet, who has a lot of issues, and one of them is a food sensitivity to almost all cat food. There is only one kind of food he can have, or he ends up with gastrointestinal upset to the point that he needs a bath…if you know what I mean. 

There’s no point in keeping things you don’t need in your home, instead, let’s explore how and where to donate things so these things don’t go to waste sitting in your cupboards.

crumpet the orange cat sitting on a grey couch needs special cat food
(I had to get a photo of my cat in here)

Recognizing Food Insecurities Among Pet Owners

Often, struggling households face food insecurity and their furry family members can be a financial burden during these hard times. We all love our pets and want the best for them, so when finances are tough, feeding our pets can be a struggle. 

This can be an animal welfare risk because perhaps people feed their pets human food out of desperation which can result in nutritional difficulties. Furthermore, sometimes pets go hungry along with their human family members due to the lack of food.

Unfortunately, many individuals facing financial difficulties might be forced to give up their cherished animal companions.

By donating to a local pet food pantry or even dropping in charity bins at your grocery store, you are helping pets and struggling households.

Shelter Pets Need Donations Too

In addition to low-income households, for people and pets living with food insecurity, pet shelters and SPCAs often rely heavily on donations. Be sure to reach out and inquire if they have a goods program for donations. 

The Role of Pet Food Pantries and Food Banks

The good news is your community might have a pet food bank or other charities that can help.

Pet food pantries are places where pet parents can receive free or low-cost donations of dog, cat, bird, etc. food supplies and more.

These wonderful charities offer a valuable service to their communities for those struggling to make ends meet.

Human food banks often accept food for companion animals.

dry dog food on a table.

Finding Donation Opportunities and Locations

Aside from a quick Google search, there are a few ways to find places that can help pets get important things like food, pet supplies and even litter boxes.

Check with local pet charities or partner locations. I volunteer for a local cat charity and know that the organizers love helping donors find places to bring donations. 

Many local pet food stores and veterinary clinics may know of some pantries or greatergoods charities.

Several of these organizations will often accept donations and bring them to distribution locations.

Local Organizations Supporting Pets in Need

In addition to donating food to local charities, there are other ways your generous donations can help.

Quite often, donating money is far more helpful than even free pet food (once you’re done decluttering those things).

The cat rescue group I volunteer for can purchase cat and dog food, fund neuter programs, medical care, adoptions and more through monetary donations.

You can even donate your car to certain charities such as the BC SPCA. 

Common Questions About Donating Pet Food

Are opened bags of food accepted?

Many charities, such as the Michigan Humane Society will accept open bags of food if the food is in the original packaging. Check with recipient organizations before attempting to donating.

Can I donate cat food to a food bank?

Several kinds of animal food are accepted. Typically, cat and dog food are fine.

Can I donate expired cat or dog food?

​Some charities are fine with food that is within 1 year of the expired food, but check with the charity ahead of time.

expiry date on bottom of cat food to be donated to a pet food bank

Steps to Donate Dog Food and Pet Supplies

When donating, be sure to follow these steps (or those of local charities) to ensure you’re helping and not indexing the charities’ time and efforts:

  • check to be sure the charities are currently accepting donations
  • never leave donations at the door unless directed to do so, this is often a form of litter that can be problematic
  • many charities will not accept open pet food donations
  • check expiration dates (some charities are ok if food is slightly over, but might not want anything beyond a certain time)
wet cat food on a table. Pet food can be donated to pets in need

By donating pet food you and your beloved dogs and cats are not consuming, you are helping people and pets facing food insecurities as well as local animal shelters and charities.

Additional Resources

A to Z Home Decluttering Strategies Blog post

Best Kitchen Storage Hacks Blog Post

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