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Can You Buy Dog Food With Food Stamps? What to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dog showing his paws about to eat dog food

As a dog owner, you consider your pet part of the family and naturally you want to provide your friend with the best source of dog food, but that can be difficult when the budget is tight. Food stamps are a helpful tool to provide low-income relief, but can you buy dog food with food stamps?

Sadly, the answer is no. You cannot use food stamps to purchase dog food because pet food is considered a non-food item and is not used for human consumption. However, although you cannot use your EBT card to buy pre-made dog food, it can be used to purchase fresh food products to make homemade dog food.

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How Can I Use Food Stamps or My EBT Card To Feed My Dog?

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) allows low-income families to purchase food with their EBT cards from eligible stores. Dog food is unfortunately not considered an eligible item, but fresh foods like meat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products can be purchased. They can be used to prepare homemade dog food, which adds a variety of ingredients to your dog’s daily diet. Dogs can eat vegetables, but certain vegetables are better than others.

Here are some great options:
  • Apples: Apples contain vitamin C and antioxidants to keep your pup healthy. Although it can be entertaining to watch your dog attempt to eat an apple, help your friend out by slicing it into bite-size pieces or grating it into their food.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries can help in fighting heart disease and have anti-cancer qualities. Tannins found in blueberries also help prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Watermelon: Watermelon contains vitamins A, B-6, C, and thiamine and is a nutritious and refreshing treat. It is also the best source of lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Cantaloupe: Cantaloupes may help your dog’s eyesight, and the vitamin A and beta carotene in the fruit may prevent cell damage and lower the risk of cancer. It is also a source of vitamin B6 and C, potassium, niacin, folate, and fiber.
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin A, and fiber. Its nutritional properties can maintain your dog’s cardiovascular health and assist in alleviating diarrhea and constipation.
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are tasty and a great source of vitamins E, A, B-6, and C, as well as calcium, folate, iron, copper, potassium, and thiamine.
  • Asparagus: Adding pieces of asparagus to your dog’s freshly prepared meal will provide them with vitamin K, A, B1, B2, C, and E. It also includes folate, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
  • Green Beans: These super-powered beans are a nutritious addition to your dog’s meal because they are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K, omega3 fatty acids, folic acid, iron, manganese, potassium, copper, riboflavin, thiamin, and fiber.
  • Brussel Sprouts: Although everyone may not love Brussel sprouts, they are rich in vitamins K, G, E, A, B1, and B6, along with manganese, folate, potassium, and fiber.
  • Spinach: Spinach is twice as high in iron as most other vegetables, and adding this leafy vegetable to your dog’s diet is very beneficial. It helps reduce the risks of cardiovascular issues and cancer.

It is important to remember that your dog’s nutritional needs differ from humans. While these fruits and vegetables are healthy and beneficial, making homemade food should be considered carefully. Discuss recipes with your vet or veterinary nutritionist best suited to your dog’s long-term health.

red apples
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

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What You Need To Know Before Switching to Homemade Dog Food

It is vital to provide your canine with a nutritionally balanced diet. An unbalanced diet can lead to malnutrition, disease, and obesity. Several recipes are available online or in books and magazines, but they may not be nutritionally balanced. If you find suitable recipes, you should show them to your vet to ensure they meet your dog’s dietary needs.

It is also essential to follow the recipe precisely since cooking methods can change the nutrient composition. The transition to homemade dog food should be gradual to allow time for your dog’s stomach to adjust and avoid gastrointestinal upset.

Options for Food Assistance

If you need some assistance in caring for your pets, here are some options for food assistance:

  • Cofund My Pet: This online directory helps you find pet food banks close to where you live so your pets don’t go hungry.
  • The Humane Society: This platform provides resources that offer financial support and donations for pet food. You can explore the interactive resource map to find a pet food pantry.

Some veterinary clinics may also provide pet food assistance. You can also check with your local religious institutions since some occasionally sponsor pet food banks and pet food drives. Pet food manufacturers sometimes offer food samples which can be a short-term relief. This could be a helpful but temporary solution if you need to get through one or two days.

woman making homemade dog food and filling containers with it
Image Credit: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

While the EBT card does not allow you to purchase dog food, that doesn’t mean that there are no options. A balanced homemade meal for your pet can be made with fresh ingredients that are eligible for purchase with an EBT card. If you find yourself in this vulnerable position, don’t be afraid to reach out, you should be able to find someone who is more than willing to help.

Featured Image Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

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