Animal charities are often forgotten when human charities take over the holidays. From donations to volunteers, it’s a tough time of year for most of them.

To give them a holiday helping hand, we’ve made this list and checked it twice! There are suggestions for product donations, handmade items, shopping shelter stores, and volunteering. I can’t promise it will get you on the ‘nice’ list, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Donation Suggestions for Animal Shelters

Keep in mind that animal shelters may take in pets of all kinds, including hamsters, birds, reptiles, rabbits and ferrets, so supplies for all species are often appreciated.

Some items, such as dog food, may be provided on an ongoing basis by sponsors. We suggest contacting your local shelter to find out what they require.

Following is a list of items that animal shelters frequently need:

Crates & cages
Cat & dog beds
Old towels, blankets or throw rugs
Disposable bedding for all species, including straw, timothy & rodent/reptile bedding
Heating pads
Healthy food & treats for all species of pets
Kitten milk replacement
Stainless steel bowls
Grooming supplies
Leashes, harnesses & collars
Cat litter
Syringes, gauze & other medical supplies
Cotton balls & swabs
Toys that are easily sterilized
Dog sweaters
Garbage bags & grocery bags
Buckets & pails
Brooms & mops
Disinfectant wipes
Laundry detergent
Hand sanitizer
Latex gloves
Spray bottles
Printer paper, envelopes, stamps & other office supplies
Gift cards to department stores, pet stores & gas stations

Many shelters now have wish lists on Amazon, making it quick and easy to give them exactly what they need.

Hand-crafted donations are usually welcome at shelters and they make great scrap projects. Shelter blankets are perfect practice if you’re a beginner or want to learn new stitches. The animals won’t notice your mistakes. Check with the shelter before you start so you know what they can use. Some popular items are blankets, sweaters, dog booties, and sturdy toys. Start with our list of Free Knit, Crochet and Sewing Patterns for Animal Shelters.

More Ways to Help

• Fostering a shelter animal for the holiday season or adopting a new pet is a great idea, IF you have time to devote to them over the hectic holidays. Adoption should only be considered after careful thought, consideration, and research. Never adopt or purchase an animal as a surprise gift, unless it’s for your own family and you are willing to be personally responsible for it.

• Your time is a gift that is coveted by animal charities. Please help them out with general volunteer activities or donate your special skills, such as carpentry or graphics design.

• You can do your holiday shopping through local and online animal charities to help them raise money and create awareness. Check out this list of Animal Charities with Gift Shopping for ideas.

• It’s an especially good time to donate cash.

• Last but not least, we can create awareness with blog posts and social media sharing.

Please remember homeless animals this holiday season, it will bring great joy to both them and yourself.

Author Bio:

Melody McKinnon’s research of natural pet care began with a curiosity about the failing immune system of tropical fish, and has since grown to include the natural, holistic care of all pets. Additionally, she owns CA Digital Media Group and is the author of ‘7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home.’ Melody covers a variety of pet care topics on

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A previous version of this article was published by Melody McKinnon on All Natural Pet Care. Republishing permitted as is, with byline, author bio, and this notation (including links). Image provided by Deposit Photos for editorial use only.


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