Food banks for pets. It’s not just people who need food banks in these trying times. Our furry friends always need feeding, partly as a daily necessity but also to keep them from ending up in rescue centres or being abandoned on the side of roads or, as we’ve read recently, in bins. It’s unthinkable isn’t it.
And at the moment particularly, many people are finding it hard to make ends meet, with the much-publicised Cost of Living Crisis driving up our daily bills. So how do we find the money to support and nurture our pets, let alone ourselves?
Thankfully, there are multiple places set up to help us provide for our pets without worrying about the financial cost of this, and these are the pet food banks around the UK.
Most of these banks, or collection points set up in local supermarkets, are always looking for a wide range of pet food and accessories for animals, as well as:
Food pouches for dogs, cats and small household pets
Dried biscuits and food
Cans of pet food
Accessories for animals like warm beds and blankets, especially over winter months
Pet cleaning supplies like pet shampoo and hygiene products
PET BANKS UK
All of the following pet food banks are on the lookout for, and can provide, most if not all of the above.
Local Pets at Home stores. Give yours a call or drop in first to make sure they’re after donations: you can provide them with money and goods that will help.
The RSPCA have branches in Wimbledon, Wandsworth and Sutton.
In Scotland, The Pet Food Bank provides food, jackets, collars, leads, bowls, and bedding to owners who can’t afford the things their pet needs. They also have trained and experienced staff on hand in case you might need any advice or other support.
Social media pages such as Facebook will have many groups set up by people who are gathering help, money and items to help people with pets.
The RSPCA have collection bins at Tesco and Morrisons where you can drop and collect items.
Blue Cross are working with partner organisations in Sheffield, Grimsby and Manchester.
The RSPCA have partnered with over 40 food banks across the North of England.
Ask around and check online to find independent or locally volunteered food banks available in your area. You may find these at your nearest rescue centre or cat and dog home.
An alliance of national animal charities has joined forces with FareShare and global corporate donors including Pets at Home, Petplan, Purina Petcare, Lily’s Kitchen, and Mars Petcare to help owners in need to feed their hungry pets in the face of the cost of living crisis.
Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Battersea, and Cats Protection are working together with industry body UK Pet Food to secure food from pet food manufacturers, which is then distributed all over the UK through FareShare, the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste.
This initiative has been made possible thanks to Petplan, the UK’s no.1 pet insurer, covering the cost of distributing food to pets in need.
Pet food arriving at FareShare Thames Valley, to be distributed to charities/community groups
The alliance will help redistribute pet food to FareShare’s network of 9,500 charities which, as well as providing food banks, also provide wraparound services that help tackle the root causes of poverty, including homelessness shelters, women’s refuge centres, older people’s lunch clubs and after school clubs. This pet food will help owners most impacted by the cost of living crisis.
To date, the programme has received 43,621 kilograms of pet food, the equivalent of over 304,000 meals for hungry pets across the UK, who might not otherwise have been fed a proper meal that day.
Paul & Lucky
Paul Cardwell, 55, from Preston in Lancashire, has had eight-year-old cat Lucky since she was a kitten. He started using the local food bank in the town in 2020 and also volunteers to help with deliveries.
He said: “The food bank makes a huge difference to my life as my food and pet food keeps going up in cost. Getting food from the food bank means we have enough for both of us and I don’t have to choose between cat food and my own food.
“The cost of living has made life much harder. I’ve never considered giving Lucky up as she is my life, my family; she is my sole source of company. It doesn’t matter what happens in life, we will always be together.
“The staff and volunteers at the food bank are all fabulous and the help I get from them means a lot to me and Lucky.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said: “The cost of living crisis is having a disproportionate impact on people already struggling to make ends meet. We’re incredibly proud to be working with these animal welfare charities and their pet food partners so that people won’t have to choose between feeding themselves or their pets during what is a challenging time for many.”
Chris Sherwood, CEO of the RSPCA said: “Sadly, we know the cost of living crisis is a real worry for pet owners. We are so grateful to the suppliers currently on board with us and the FareShare network but to help reach even more struggling pet owners we really need more manufacturers to come on board and help more animals and owners through these extremely tough times.”
Nicole Paley, Deputy CEO of UK Pet Food said:“Our members are responsible for feeding 90% of the nation’s pets, so we have been delighted that many have signed up to the scheme and donated pet food for those in need.”
Start your own pet food bank
As we’ve mentioned, looking around on social media or in your local area is a great place to start, as you’ll find hundreds of like-minded people concerned about pets and their owners and eager to help. Once you’ve made people aware of what you’re doing, you can start collecting items and donations while seeing if any pet owners in the area are in need of help and supplies.
Finally, you can always try speaking to your local councillors to see if they’ll offer information and support for you to start this kind of work in your area.
What to do if I can’t Afford my Pet
We have written a helpful guide of what to do if you simply can’t afford your pet here.