Scottish Pet Food Banks Suffer from Significant Drop in Donations

Woman loading dog food at food bank

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home Reports Drop in Donations, Impacting Pet Owners Across Scotland

The pet food bank service, a crucial lifeline for many, has been severely affected by a significant decrease in donations.

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (the Home) collaborates with 87 pet food bank providers across East and Central Scotland, offering meals to pet owners who might otherwise be unable to afford to feed their beloved pets.

Without the support from the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s food banks, some pet owners might be forced to surrender their beloved pets. However, the Home is currently operating at full capacity. If even 1% of the animals supported by food banks were surrendered to the Home, it would exceed capacity and be forced to turn them away.

In 2023, the Home fulfilled over 75% of pet food requests, but this figure has dropped to less than 50% since February 2024. The Home now struggles to support the food banks with the basic amount of cat and dog food needed to help families in desperate need.

The demand for pet food bank support is growing rapidly, currently outstripping supply

The demand for pet food bank support is growing rapidly, currently outstripping supply. Last year, the Home provided 671,000 pet meals through emergency food packs accessed at the Home and through food banks, marking a staggering 104% increase compared to 2022. In April 2024 alone, the Home supplied 1,144 dogs with one week’s worth of dog food and supported 2,124 cats with one week’s worth of cat food.

Jamie Simpson, Director of People and Services at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, stated, “Our Pet Foodbanks are a lifeline for thousands of dog and cat owners across East & Central Scotland, who, without our support, may have to give up their loved pet.

“We rely solely on donations to provide food supplies and with the cost-of-living crisis, demand is increasing. The Home is now at a point where our foodbank donations are critically low but demand for help is at a record high, so we are asking anyone who can to support us with a donation of dog or cat food, to help pet owners in need in the community and keep pets in loving homes.”

The cost of living crisis has increased the pressure on food banks to support a growing number of communities unable to afford to feed their families and pets. In 2023, the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home supplied 86,779kg of pet food, with 595,816 meals distributed at pet food banks across East and Central Scotland. Emergency Food Packs helped 753 dogs (a 75% increase from 2022) and 798 cats (an 8% increase from 2022).

Marie Johnson from Broxburn’s The Larder, a food bank provider, shared: “A couple of years ago I used to go out once or twice a week to collect donations, now I’m going out every single day. As soon as I stack the shelves, they are being emptied.”

The impact on pet owners is profound, as illustrated by an anonymous user: “I didn’t realise I could get help with dog food. I have been missing meals myself to make sure my two dogs were being fed. Thanks to The Larder and the Dog and Cat Home, I can eat as well now.

“Without the food provision support, I would have to give up my two dogs, which would be terrible. My pets are key to my mental and physical health and overall well-being. I would like to say thank you for the pet food, I really don’t know what I would do without this service.”

The generous support of donors has kept the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home open for 140 years, providing a safe place for animals to recover and find love, and helping countless more pets through 87 food banks across East and Central Scotland. Each week, twenty volunteers collect, organise, and distribute donations to pet food bank locations across Scotland.

Please contact if you would like to support the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home by running a pet food drive at your workplace or community group, or if any pet food store/business would like to help with donations.

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