Free dog food is always welcome in our household. It doesn’t matter if the free dog food is just product samples, or if I can receive a pack of dog food every month – my furbabies will gobble them up for sure.
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If you’re interested in receiving dog food samples or doggie bags regularly, read on and find out which organizations give these away.
7 Ways to Get Free Dog Food
Some methods of receiving free dog food are available year-round, while most of them are seasonal or is available only for low-income families.
1. Pet Food Manufacturers: Free Dog Food by Mail
Do companies give away free dog food by mail?
Yes, most manufacturers give away dog food samples. Here’s how you can get included:
Make a request.
You need to do a bit of stalking here and find the official website of dog food manufacturers such as Purina, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, Essence, The Honest Kitchen, Bil-Jac, Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet, and others.
Once you’re there, subscribe to their newsletter or join their club, then find their contact form and leave a sample request. You can also send a message on one of their social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), e-mail the company, or call them.
Here are some companies to begin your hunt:
- Pet Chef of GA: If you live in metro Atlanta and surrounding areas, fill out this form and get your free sample.
- Taste of the Wild: Just call the hotline or visit your local Taste of the Wild retailer to obtain a sample.
- The Pet Pantry: North Carolina residents only can receive free samples by filling out an online form. If you live outside of our Free Delivery Zone there will be an $8.00 charge for shipping the samples.
- The Pet Way: If you live in Virginia or North Carolina, you can receive a free Pet Way sample. You’ll need to complete a short questionnaire about your dog’s info from age and health to dietary restrictions, so the company can send the best dog food that would work best for your furbaby.
Wait for promos and contests.
Bigger packs of dog food are also given away, but not as regularly as dog food samples (which are often smaller in size/weight).
Companies do giveaways usually when introducing a new flavor or brand. Contests can be seasonal (Christmas, International Dog’s Day), and so on.
Increase your chances of winning big packs of dog food by subscribing to newsletters, joining dog food company’s loyalty clubs (there are usually free to join), and following them on social media, where promos are usually announced.
Brands known to provide free samples seasonally include Purina, Applaws, Pedigree, Crave, Orijen, Nutro, Rachael Ray Nutrish, and Pet Chef Express, among others.
2. Local Retailers (Pet Shops)
Sometimes, the dog food manufacturers don’t send free dog food samples by mail. Instead, they give samples directly to authorized retailers, so customers can request them on-site.
For example, Zignature gives away free 4-ounce samples of various recipes for your pet to try, but you can only get them at authorized Zignature retailers.
Click here to find a retailer in your area.
3. Vet Clinics
Some manufacturers send veterinarians dog food samples that are designed to be given away to patients. Public vets, run by the government, may have some of these samples stored. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Private vet clinics, especially those that host charity programs and services like free vaccinations or free neutering/spaying, may also have pet-feeding programs.
Even if there are no pet food freebies available at the vet, they may offer lower-priced products when you pay for their medical services.
4. Animal Shelters
Check with animal shelters near you. These pet shelters are exclusively for dogs and cats that were rescued and are waiting to be adopted. If you’re lucky and the animal shelter near you has a surplus of donated dog food, and they’d willingly share them with you at no cost, then try to explain your situation to the animal shelter crew.
Research about local shelters near you, visit their website, or call to find out where you should go if they do help out dog parents in need of pet food assistance.
5. Niche groups (Breed-Specific, Pet-Specic, Location-Specific)
The internet has allowed us to find like-minded people everywhere. Take advantage of this by finding breed-specific, pet-specific groups online. “pugs in California,” “dog lovers of Arizona”, and so on.
For dog owners, American Kennel Club is a good example of a pet-specific organization.
It's a giant box of free samples and it comes right to your door at no cost.
Click here and get yours.
If you will do anything for your beloved dogs, I’m sure other pawrents could lend you a helping hand if you requested help.
Introduce yourself and your dogs, include all info about the dog/s in your care, post a picture if you have them, and explain reasons why you need free dog food. Maybe you just got laid off from work and would have to sacrifice some expenses for the month.
Be truthful, respectful, and appreciative if somebody did help you out. If you can, pay it forward in the future.
6. Non-profit or Religious Groups
Religious groups and non-profit organizations have the same goal – to help marginalized people in the community. If your family is currently struggling to make ends meet, you can try asking for help with these groups.
Some examples of non-profit organizations include:
- Pets of the Homeless
- Meals on Wheels America
- The Mosby Foundation
- The Onyx & Breezy Foundation
- The Humane Society of the United States (This org also maintains a list of local and national organizations with free pet food programs)
Note that nonprofit organizations may schedule the feeding programs (and not make pet food readily available to anyone).
As such, it is best to contact them first before visiting.
7. Free Dog Food from Local Pet Food Pantries
Pet food pantries are designed to help keep pets in their homes when their families are struggling financially. Some food pantries offer a weekly or monthly distribution. Check some of them here:
- Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry,
- Animals and Humans in Disaster (formerly Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry),
- Pets In Need Action League, and
- The Good Dog Food Bank.
- Animal Assistance League of Orange County,
- Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry,
- Berkeley Humane,
- Eastbay SPCA,
- Halo Cafe,
- Furry Friends Pet Relief Program,
- Helen Woodward Animal Center,
- Ohlone Humane Society,
- Rescuing Unwanted Furry Friends (RUFF Rescue),
- Actors and Others for Pets,
- The Pet Food Bank,
- Placer SPCA,
- Santa Cruz SPCA – Heather’s Pet Food Pantry, and
- SPCA for Monterey County.
- Colorado Pet Pantry, and
- Anne Arundel Feeding Pets in Need (Anne Arundel County)
- Be More Kind Pet Food Pantry
- Caroline Humane Society
- Frederick County Humane Society
- Humane Society of Harford County
- Help For Pets in Charles County, MD
- Maryland SPCA
- MCQE Mobile Pet Pantry (Carroll County)
- Prince William SPCA
- Talbot Humane Society
- Thankful Paws, Inc
- New Hampshire:
- New Mexico:
- New Jersey:
- New York:
- North Carolina:
- North Dakota:
- Rhode Island:
- Anicira (Harrisongburg & Rockingham County)
- Augusta Dog Adoptions
- Dogs Deserve Better
- Humane Society of Fairfax
- Rikki’s Animal Refuge Sanctuary (keeps a list of Virginia-based pet food pantries)
- Virginia Beach SPCA
RELATED Free Dog Stuff: 30+ Dog Freebies for Your Fur Baby
The Bottom Line
Taking care of dogs can be just as expensive as taking care of a human baby. If you have two or more dogs, their kibble, supplements, hydration soups, and other nutritional products do add up pretty quickly.
There are thousands of starving cats and dogs in the country. I say take advantage of these freebies if you’re strapped for cash, but pay for them once you’ve recuperated financially so strays and other pet owners who are currently struggling will be accommodated for free samples.
Check this post for other non-food, free dog stuff, or if you have a cat, enjoy the free cat food instead.