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Can You Buy Dog Food with Food Stamps?

Can You Buy Dog Food with Food Stamps?

Our pets need to eat, too! So, can you buy dog food with food stamps for your furry friend? Navigating the list of what you can and cannot buy with your EBT card can be difficult. Don’t worry: Low Income Relief is here to help!

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Can you buy dog food with food stamps?

Unfortunately, no, you cannot buy dog food with food stamps. This is because pet food is considered to be a non-food item since it is not meant for human consumption.

Generally, your EBT card will only let you buy food items that are not hot or meant to be eaten at the location you are at. While there can be exceptions to the strict list of what you can purchase through SNAP, the list below generally covers what you can buy:

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  • Meat
  • Bread
  • Dairy
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Seeds and plants for growing food

This article and this article go more into depth about what specifically can be purchased with your EBT card.

Can I make my own pet food by buying ingredients with my EBT card?

If you are in need of a short-term way to feed your pets, you can buy meat, fruits, and vegetables with your EBT card in order to make your own pet food at home. If you do this, however, please be sure to research what foods your pets can eat and what the ratio and portion of food should be.

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This should only be a short-term solution because your pet needs specific nutrients in their diet in order to stay healthy in the long-term. For example, cats need an essential nutrient called taurine in their diets because their body can’t produce the amount they need on their own. The meat you provide your cat can be okay in the short-term, but in the long-term that food may not have enough taurine, which can lead to your cat’s heart or vision weakening. Not only is it upsetting to have your pet become ill, but it’s also expensive to take your pet to the vet for treatment.

Pet foods are specifically designed to meet your pet’s nutritional needs, but you may not be able to meet those by feeding an at-home food without researching specific ways to supplement your pet’s food. Nutritionally balanced at-home pet food can often be more expensive and time-consuming than manufactured pet food.

A woman in an orange sweater cradles and pets a happy-looking German shepherd puppy. She wonders: can you buy dog food with food stamps?
By Unsplash user Veronika Jorjobert.

Where can I find free or cheap pet food?

Luckily, there are a number of options you can explore in order to find free or cheap food for your furry friend.

  • Contact your local animal shelters to see if they provide free or reduced cost pet foods.
  • Find charitable groups for pets
  • Reach out to your local vet clinics
  • Message a breed-specific organization (for example, if you have a German Shepherd, find a group specifically for them)
  • Ask a local religious institution
  • Search for free pet food in your area
  • Consult with your local food pantry to see if they provide pet food
  • Check to see if your local Meals on Wheels affiliated group can deliver pet food to your door

I need more help!

Need more info? We’ve got you! Here’s some other resources!

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As a third-year English major with years of researching and writing experience, Chloe uses her experience and her passion for helping others to help you get the financial aid you deserve.