Can You Really Get Food Stamps for Pets?

When money is scarce for households, not only do humans feel the effects, but so do their four-legged pals. Through the government, food stamps are often available to help feed families who are having difficulties making ends meet. An up-and-coming nonprofit effort named "Pet Food Stamps" has a similar goal for animals.

Dog looking up, close-up
Food stamps can help this little guy stay healthy and properly fed, too.
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images


The goal of the Pet Food Stamps organization is to ensure that animals don't go hungry. Since government-issued food stamps do not permit users to buy meals for their pets, this program aims to take care of that issue. People often have no choice but to surrender their pets when they cannot afford to feed them properly, and this program attempts to minimize those situations.


The program, which was started by Marc Okon, operates on donations; it gets no financial assistance from the government. Although the program runs out of New York, all pets in the United States are eligible for the assistance, whether they reside in Oregon, Oklahoma or anywhere in between. As of early 2013, more than 45,000 animals have already been signed up for Pet Food Stamps. Individuals who are interested in donating can do so by visiting the organization's website. The option for single donations is available, although people can also elect to help out on a regular basis.


In signing up pets, owners must complete applications that also validate their salaries and level of requirement. It takes a minimum of six weeks for applicants to hear back, according to the organization. The initial application calls for basic information such as home address, contact information and total number of household pets. Afterward, however, applicants work alongside employees of the organization to determine whether they fit the requirements of the program.


Once pets are given the green light for the program, their families begin receiving monthly deliveries direct from participating pet food merchants. Owners do not receive stamps or cards for use at any local grocery stores and pet supplies shops, but rather the actual pet food -- straight to their doorsteps. Delivery comes without an extra charge.