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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Scottish pet food banks suffer from huge drop in donations


Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home reports drop in donations has had a serious impact on pet owners.

The pet food bank service which has been used as a lifeline by so many has been severely affected by the drop in donations it receives.

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (the Home) works with 87 pet food bank providers across East and Central Scotland, providing meals to pet owners who would otherwise not be able to afford to feed their beloved pets.

Without food bank support from the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, some pet owners would be forced to surrender their beloved dog or cat. However, capacity at the Home itself is at a maximum and if even 1% of animals supported by foodbanks had been surrendered to the Home, they would be beyond capacity and be forced to turn them away.

In 2023 the Home was able to fulfil over 75% of pet food requests that they received, but that number has dropped to less than 50% since February 2024. 

The Home is now struggling to support the food banks with even the basic amount of cat and dog food that they require to support families in desperate need.

Jamie Simpson, director of people and services at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: “Our pet food banks 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 in which 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 demand for pet food bank support is growing so rapidly it is currently outstripping supply.  

Last year the Home provided 671,000 pet meals in total through emergency food packs accessed at the Home and through food banks – a staggering 104% increase on the number of meals they provided in 2022. In April 2024 alone the Home supplied 1,144 dogs with one week’s worth of dog food and 2,124 cats were supported with one week’s worth of cat food.

The cost of living crisis has put pressure on food banks to support growing numbers of communities who are not able to afford to feed their families and pets. In 2023 the Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home supplied 86,779kg of pet food, 595,816 meals were distributed at pet food banks across East and Central Scotland, 753 dogs were helped through Emergency Food Packs (75% increase from 2022), and 798 cats were helped (an 8% increase from 2022).

Food bank provider, Marie Johnson from Broxburn’s The Larder, said: “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.”

Without food bank support from the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, some pet owners would be forced to surrender their beloved dog or cat. 

One service user said: “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 wellbeing.  I would like to say thank you for the pet food, I really don’t know what I would do without this service.”

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



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