According to Hills, animal shelters across the country are “facing unprecedented budget cuts and financial strain”.
In addition, a growing number of pets are being given up or abandoned and fundraising events have been “postponed due to the crisis”.
As part of the campaign, Atkinson is asking pet owners and vet professionals alike to share pictures of their animals using #MissionForeverFriend across Instagram and Facebook.
For every post, Hill’s will donate a bowl of food to a local shelter throughout the month of April, providing up to 14,000 meals in the UK, and up to 100,000 meals across participating countries.
Michael Unsworth, vet affairs manager at Hills, said: “#MissionForeverFriend is an extension of our 365 day-a-year commitment to helping shelter pets, but it’s never been more important to help animals in need than right now.
“Centres are at capacity with many people experiencing ‘buyer’s remorse’ or sadly suffering financial or health woes due to the pandemic.”
He added: “Just like all vet professionals up and down the country, the staff and volunteers at these shelters have worked round the clock to feed them and keep a roof over their heads, but there’s only so much they can do with funding and rehoming all on hold.
“This movement will provide much-needed nutrition to thousands of innocent animals and we’re thrilled that Gemma is lending her support to help the cause.”