Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What to Do With Leftover Dog Food? 6 Great Ideas

Written by: Luxifa Le

Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Dogster Team

Open canned pet food

What to Do With Leftover Dog Food? 6 Great Ideas

No one wants to deal with leftover dog food. Perhaps your dog has passed away, or maybe your pet just doesn’t like the type of food you bought. Most people don’t buy more food than their dogs can typically eat, so having leftovers tends to add to the clutter in your home or go bad. However, there’s no reason to just chuck that bag into the trash. Here are excellent ideas for repurposing your dog’s food.

divider-dog paw

The 6 Great Ideas for Leftover Dog Food

1. Donate the Food to an Animal Shelter

Many people think that animal shelters will only take unopened bags of food, but this is only true for some locations. Check with your local animal shelters to see if they take open bags of dog food. If one does, you can drop it off there to help dogs with no families.

This is also a great place to drop off wet and moist foods. Individual cans and packets of food can be donated as long as they are unopened, even if the larger container is open.

homeless dogs of different breeds in animal shelter
Image By: Evgeny Bakhchev, Shutterstock

2. Donate the Food to a Pet Food Bank

While most people are familiar with the concept of food banks for humans, fewer people realize there are also food banks for pets. Like animal shelters, not all pet food banks take open bags of food, but some do and may put the food into bulk bins that pet owners in need can source from.

This is another excellent place to drop off unopened dog food cans, as these donations go directly to needy families looking to take care of their pets on a budget.

3. Give the Food to Friends or Family

If none of the pet food banks and animal shelters in your area accept donations of open food, you can always give the food to friends and family to bulk up their own pet food stores. Dog food is expensive, and even if it isn’t their usual brand, many pet parents will mix donated food with their regular food so their pets can eat it.

Shih tzu dog getting food from owner at kitchen
Image By: chaoss, Shutterstock

4. Donate to a Family Shelter That Allows Pets

Another donation option is a family shelter that allows pets. Families living in these shelters tend to be in need, and if they have pets, any pet food they buy may be taking food out of their own mouths.

Some family shelters have communal pet food options that people can take advantage of to help them get back on their feet. This is an excellent place to put your dog’s unwanted food, and you’ll know that it will be put to good use.

Like other donation programs, ensure that the shelter in question accepts any open bags of food before you haul it over to them. Otherwise, they may take the food and just throw it away themselves.

5. Donate the Food at a Pet Event

You should call ahead first to make sure they’ll take the food you’re looking to donate, but pet events often accept donations of food that they can feed to pets during the event.

Many of these are adoption events, and keeping the animals happy and comfortable is the top priority for the event organizers. Happy pets are more likely to be adopted, after all! Many of these events will take open bags of dog food, but check before you bring it over. While you don’t have nefarious intentions, the organizers of these events have to be wary of people who might try to poison the animals.

pet adoption
Image By: tonyfortku, Pixabay

6. Bring a Box of Items to the Dog Park

If your dog has passed away, you can leave a box of items at their favorite park in their memory. This helps other pet parents, and since the food will go to local pets, you may even help one of your late dog’s friends get a tasty new snack!


Final Thoughts

Leftover dog food doesn’t have to go to waste or be the end of your late dog’s influence on the world. You can use it to improve and enrich the lives of local dogs by donating it to charity or giving it away to friends and family.

Related Reads: 

Featured Image Credit: Sergiy Palamarchuk, Shutterstock

PangoVet Image Speak With A Vet Online

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.