When people go hungry, their pets often do too. But 83% of pet parents struggling with food costs would forego their own meals to make sure their pet has enough to eat, according to a new survey commissioned by PetSmart Charities.
PetSmart Charities knows that when people feel they can’t provide for their pet, they often surrender their pets to already overcrowded shelters or share the human food meant for their family with their pets. PetSmart Charities is raising awareness of pet hunger, and how individuals and organizations can help, by unleashing the inaugural Pet Hunger Awareness Day™ on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The day will be recognized on the last Tuesday of September every year moving forward.
As part of this campaign, PetSmart Charities commissioned a survey of pet parents across the country and found surprising results. This includes that about a third of pet parents would travel to another state to a food bank that provided pet food if their local food bank didn’t offer it. Women would be more open to asking for help from friends or relatives to provide food (59%) compared to men (49%), and women would be less likely to give up a pet to a shelter (12%) compared to men (27%).
Additional survey results include the following:
- Mealtime is a happy time. More than two-thirds of pet parents enjoy being able to provide for their pet (68%). Others take great pleasure in seeing their pet licking its chops or wagging its tail (63%), witnessing the pet’s contentment after the meal (53%) and watching their pet’s signature dinner dance (48%).
- They’d get help to fill the bowl. If a pet parent was struggling to feed their furry (or scaly) friend, 58% of respondents said they would reach out for pet food assistance or to a pet food bank, and 55% said they would ask for help from friends and relatives to provide food.
- More food assistance is needed. If pet parents needed food assistance for themselves, 35% would travel to another town, city or even another state to a food bank that provided food assistance for their pets as well.
- The last resort is an unfortunate option. Having exhausted all resources, nearly 1 in 5 pet parents (19%) would take a heartbreaking step and give their pets up to a shelter.
“Pets are a part of the family and pet hunger can create dire consequences for families that just want to be able to love and care for their pet. It’s clear from the survey results that we all need to get loud about pet hunger and how individuals and organizations can support pet families in need to make life easier at both ends of the leash,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “We all want to be able to provide for our pets and see their happy dinner dance.”
For more information on pet hunger and how individuals and organizations can support pet families in need, visit PetSmartCharities.org.
About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps up to 400,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. PetSmart Charities grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crises with access to food, shelter and disaster response. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at PetSmartCharities.org, while shopping at PetSmart.com, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart® stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 18 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of rated charities. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
Carmichael Lynch Relate for PetSmart Charities
 The PetSmart Charities survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. pet owners ages 18 and over, between Aug. 7-13, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. This data has been weighted to ensure accurate representation of U.S. pet owners ages 18 and over.