Can You Buy Dog Food With EBT/SNAP Card? What You Need To Know

When it comes to purchasing dog food with EBT, it is essential to differentiate between SNAP benefits and EBT cash benefits. SNAP benefits strictly prohibit the purchase of non-food items, including pet food, as these are considered non-essential to the nutritional needs of the household.

On the other hand, EBT cash benefits, which might come from programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), can be more flexible and may allow for the purchase of items that are not food for human consumption, including pet food. It is important to verify with the local benefits authority for precise regulations.

EBT Card Usage

The EBT card functions like a debit card at participating stores. With an EBT card, beneficiaries can purchase:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Other foods such as snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat

Items that are not allowed:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
  • Non-food items like cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and pet food

Eligibility for purchasing dog food with an EBT card varies by assistance program and state. Under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), EBT cards cannot be used to buy dog food as it falls outside the purview of human food items. These restrictions stem from USDA regulations to ensure the benefits are used for foods that contribute to the diet of SNAP recipients.

Before attempting to purchase dog food with an EBT card, beneficiaries should:

  1. Check state-specific SNAP and TANF rules to understand what is permissible.
  2. Contact local retailers to confirm whether they accept EBT for pet food items, especially for TANF recipients.
  3. Explore alternative avenues such as discounted pet food programs or homemade pet food recipes if traditional EBT usage is not an option.

It is essential for EBT users to adhere to program guidelines to ensure compliance and to make the most effective use of their benefits.

To learn more about the range of items you can purchase with an EBT card please refer to our comprehensive guide ‘What You Can Buy with EBT’. This guide offers valuable insights into the types of products eligible for EBT purchases,