During these stressful economic times many people have faced difficulty
in feeding their pets. In some cases people have made the
heart-wrenching decision to give up their pets. Shelters have been
reporting an Dog Eating Pizza Crust ( Photo by sakura from between places/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)Dog Eating Pizza Crust ( Photo by sakura from between places/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)upswing in animals being brought in due to people suddenly
being unable to afford them. There is help out there though -- food
stamps for your pet.

A donation-based program out of New York is helping by providing "food stamps" to low income families who might not otherwise be able to afford their pets. The program is open to everyone in the United States and over 45,000 people have applied over the past couple of weeks since the program began. The website has been receiving several thousand applications a day.

Once the application has been accepted and the information verified, the pet owner will receive six-months of pet food once a month from Pet Food Direct. One of the goals of the program is to keep pets from becoming strays or moved into over-crowded shelters.

Cat Eating (Photo by Berit/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)Cat Eating (Photo by Berit/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)There is no government funding for this program and it relies entirely on donations to meet the needs of low-income families throughout the country. The program is still waiting to be given non-profit status.

Many animal shelters and rescue organizations can also provide help on a local level. Some of these places also offer discounted pet care, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and veterinary care. 

Applying is easy. Just fill out the online form and submit. You will be contacted in return to complete the process. To start the application process, click here.

Sources: ABC News, Kiva.com, Pet Food Stamps