Donations are a necessary and important way to help local rescues and shelters, and there are lots of ways to donate! You can begin with monetary donations to organizations like the CAF or direct donations to a shelter or program, but there are lots of ways to donate, regardless of your budget. Most shelters have a “wish list” of things that they need, many of which may be in your home right now! Consider contacting your local shelter and asking if they need any of the following:
Toys, Pet Food, & Treats
These are essential items that make a big difference in the bottom line for most shelters. Buy a bag of food or a case of canned food to help ease the cost of caring for rescue pets. Recycle the toys your pets don’t use or buy something new to help ease the boredom experienced by shelter pets. And don’t be afraid to include some treats and goodies to help make shelter life a little bit better. Check with your shelter to find out what toys they will accept, and be careful about donating toys that include stuffing or squeakers as they can be dangerous for some pets.
Cleaning Supplies, Newspaper, & Kitty Litter
If you have pets, you know that pet ownership involved a lot of cleaning! Bleach, dishwashing liquid, disinfecting wipes, laundry detergent, paper towels, garbage bags, sponges, brooms, gloves, and litter boxes and scoops are all necessary items in shelters and can be pricey for shelters that are trying to make the most of a dollar.
Crates, Carriers, Towels & Blankets
Shelter pets need crates and carriers so that they can visit veterinarians for care and travel to foster parents, and there is always a need for warm bedding and towels to help keep pets comfortable. Look around your house for less-than-perfect blankets and towels and consider donating unused crates or carriers.
Flea & Tick Treatment, Grooming Supplies, Collars, & Leashes
Shelter pets need to go for walks, too! Extra collars and leashes help shelters exercise pets and visit places where dogs can be adopted. Grooming supplies are absolutely necessary, too – nail trimmers, brushes, combs, blow dryers, pet shampoo, and non-slip tub mats are all great donations that help shelters keep pets healthy and happy, and looking their best. Likewise, flea and tick medications can be expensive and are absolutely essential to shelters. Contact your local shelter to find out what types they need.
Nursing Bottles & Food/Water Bowls
You can’t feed animals without a dish! Stainless steel bowls in a variety of sizes are extremely important and shelters never have enough. Nursing bottles are also useful for small babies and sick pets.
There is a lot of “business” associated with running a rescue or shelter – lots of paperwork and records to organize and maintain. Pens, printer paper, printer ink, staples, sticky notes, and other office supplies can be a big cost-saver for busy shelters.
Contact your local shelters to find out what items they need and look around your home – you may have a long list of things that will help these shelters run more smoothly.