Even in a struggling economy, Rover and Whiskers still need to eat.
A group of veterinary students at the University of Minnesota has launched an effort to keep pets from going hungry by holding a pet food drive this week.
The drive, organized by the university's student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, runs through Friday. All the food collected on the school's St. Paul campus will then be distributed to local food shelves for pet owners in need.
It's the first time the group has held a pet food drive, and organizers hope it will continue in the future. The students are participating in a wider Twin Cities program which started this summer, to make sure those relying on food shelves also have access to pet food.
"Right now it's economically really difficult for people, and oftentimes corners are being cut," said Anna Michael, the group's president. "We don't want that to be with their pet's health."
Michael noted that veterinarians around the country have had fewer pet owners come in with their sick animals, meaning many animals likely aren't getting the care they need.
While Michael said having access to pet food will benefit pets whose owners have fallen on hard times, she warned that the owners should be careful about switching the type of food being fed to the animal.
"They should try to be as consistent as possible," she said.