Pet food industry ready to help after Hurricane Irma

While pet food companies work to help people, dogs, cats and other animals reeling from Hurricane Harvey, the 180-mile-per-hour winds of Hurricane Irma bear down on Florida.

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An SPCA member attends to a dog displaced by Hurricane Harvey. | photo by Brandon Wade | courtesy PetSmart Charities
An SPCA member attends to a dog displaced by Hurricane Harvey. | photo by Brandon Wade | courtesy PetSmart Charities

While pet food companies work to help people, dogs, cats and other animals reeling from Hurricane Harvey, the 180-mile-per-hour winds of Hurricane Irma bear down on Florida. However, aid efforts in Texas and Louisiana haven’t drained the pet industry’s charitable coffers.

“Quite the opposite!” Bob Vetere, chairperson of the Pet Leadership Council, told Petfood Industry. “As news spread about the needs of pets impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the Pet Leadership Council has been flooded with offers from other companies wanting to help. Some may not have had the opportunity to aid in Texas but want to make sure they can in Florida.”

Purina working with disaster relief agency

Likewise at Nestlé Purina PetCare, which shipped six truckloads of their products, totaling 170,000 pounds of pet food and 74,000 pounds of cat litter, to pet shelters in regions affected by Harvey. The pet food and treat company also donated US$25,000 to aid agency Greater Good to help rescue efforts, supply logistics and rebuilding efforts.

Purina collaborates on disaster relief projects with Rescue Bank, a Greater Good program, to deliver Purina pet food, cat litter and FortiFlora, a probiotic supplement that helps reduce symptoms of stress.

“We are donating an additional $25,000 to for disaster relief supplies and services to pets and people in anticipation of the hurricane and after the storms hit,” a Purina representative told Petfood Industry. “In addition, our shelter partner Humane Society of Greater Miami will receive nearly 1,900 pounds of dog and cat food and 6,000 pounds of cat litter, and we are ready to send additional product to pet shelters in the affected region as needs are determined.”

PetSmart Charities task force focused on hurricane relief

PetSmart Charities recently doubled its initial US$1 million commitment to help pets and people affected by Hurricane Harvey, along with sending truckloads of food and more than 100,000 pounds of donated pet food generated from PetSmart’s Buy A Bag, Give A Meal philanthropic program. PetSmart Charities too is ready to help after Irma.

“We have a special task force that meets daily, sometimes twice daily, to assess the needs and requests of our animal welfare partners in impacted areas and are active participants in larger coordination calls involving human and community service providers,” David Haworth, DVM, PhD., president of PetSmart Charities, said. “We have also staged 10 semi-trailers of supplies (primarily crates, which are in dire need after storms like this) in the Atlanta area, ready to be deployed to those areas that need them most.”

Along with PetSmart Charities, Purina and Pet Leadership Council members, many other pet food and treat companies are helping victims of Hurricane Harvey. Many of them may also extend their hands in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Pet food companies helping after Hurricane Harvey

Dr. Tim’s is donating a full truckload of dog and cat food to the pets affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Tim Hunt, DVM, told Petfood Industry in an email.

American Humane is working with Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food to deliver more than 100,000 pounds of free emergency food to displaced pet owners and animals separated from their families.

With support from Nutrish, the Rachel Ray Foundation donated US$1 million to help support various animal welfare organizations who are actively working in Texas and Louisiana to care for animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Rachel Ray wrote on Facebook.

 “US$100,000 donations have been made to the SPCA of Texas and Austin Pets Alive!, who are already providing disaster relief to animals in need,” she wrote.

I and love and you dog and cat food brand sent 20,000 dog and cat meals to the Convention Center in Houston, Texas in their ‘Hearts Fur Harvey’ relief campaign. I and love and you is dedicating the month of September to supporting rescue and shelter partners working hard to save the lives of those animals affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Consumers can sign up to donate a meal in their name to an animal in need.

To aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston and surrounding areas, Purina is making a donation of US$25,000 to Greater Good to support people and pets who have been affected.

Tuffy’s Pet Foods launched a GoFundMe page for others who wish to pledge their support to the pets and pet owners who have been severely challenged by Hurricane Harvey.

Pet food retailer Paw Naturals is collecting pet food and supplies to send with Alive Rescue, a disaster relief organization focused on pets. 

Pet Leadership Council coordinating to help pets post-Harvey

Pet Leadership Council members pooled their resources and worked with lead disaster and shelter officials to coordinate logistics of providing supplies, assisting with rescues and shelters, and providing a map of pet-related resources to the public in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Some of those members' actions include:

  • American Humane Association’s animal first responders are leading two deployments in the disaster area: Orange Grove near Corpus Christi, Texas and The Woodlands near Houston. They are providing rescue rigs, rescue staff, and trained first responder volunteers. They are also accepting donation of funds or supplies to utilize for these efforts.
  • American Pet Products Association is coordinating efforts with more than 1,200 pet product manufacturers to solicit donations, supplies and assist in animal care efforts. 
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is providing reimbursement grants for veterinarians volunteering to assist and its Board of Directors unanimously voted to contribute $100,000.00 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. AVMA and partners created a comprehensive resource on its website which includes emergency hotlines, links to grant applications, and the latest information  on available shelters.
  • Banfield Foundation has announced 100 percent of donations made at Banfield Pet Hospital PIN pads through September, 1 will go toward Disaster Relief Grants for affected non-profit organizations specific to the area.
  • Central Garden and Pet has dog, cat, reptile, equine and small animal supplies ready when needed.
  • Mars Petcare has deployed sponsored canine search and rescue teams from National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to the Austin area to help.  They're in close contact and are coordinating with non-profit partner,’s Rescue Bank program to send more than 40,000 pounds of their food for pets in the area who are in immediate need of help. 
  • Pet Food Institute (PFI) members are working through their relationships with emergency relief organizations, foundations, partner shelters, and retailers to coordinate shipping of supplies and food to Texas.
  • Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) is working with their distributors with facilities in Texas to coordinate distribution centers.  
  • Petco Foundation has committed US$2.3 million with product donations or grant support to nearly 20 organizations affected directly by Harvey or those taking in animals from other locations. They are also collecting donations from vendors and staging at warehouse locations in Texas, with additional opportunity in Louisiana.
  • Petmate, based in Arlington Texas, is donating needed supplies to shelters and rescue organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • Phillips Pet Food and Supplies is offering the use of their Arlington, Texas facility to store donated pet food and supplies that will be distributed throughout the areas affected by the hurricane. Phillips will utilize their fleet of trucks to transport and facilitate the delivery of requested supplies to relief organizations wherever needed. Phillips Pet Food and Supplies will be donating Dream Crates wire crates to help in the safe transportation of rescued and stray companion animals.
  • Spectrum Brands is donating batteries, flashlights, insect repellents, pet grooming and care products to assist with recovery efforts.
  • VCA Animal Hospitals  is providing an updated list of area hospitals that are open and offering free boarding and medication assistance as many area locations have been evacuated.  They are deploying extra antibiotics, medications and food to San Antonio and Dallas, Texas mega-shelters taking in thousands of pets including plane loads of transferred pets in need of shelter and medical attention.  VCA Doctors and medical teams are working on the ground and VCA Charities is fundraising through their hospitals via the Pennies for Pets program World Pet Association is coordinating efforts with their members including manufacturers, retailers and distributors across the country in order to organize efforts and support immediate and ongoing needs in Texas.  
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