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​Top Things to Donate to Animal Shelters

Animal shelters all over the country tend to stay at full capacity. Most are running on a limited budget, and rely heavily on donations. One visit to a shelter, and you can't help but want to help. Some things shelters need are obvious, some are not. Helping may not be as hard as you think.

1) Towels. We all wear out our towels. Some get fringy at the ends, some get dingy or discolored, and some get holes in them. Guess what? The animals don't care! Often, animals are brought in wet or cold. Sometimes, they just want something to lie on. Towels are very versatile. They can be used as blankets, be used to dry a wet animal, or be used to clean messes the animals make at the shelter.

2) Old blankets. These can be used similar to the towels. They can be cut up to use in cages with smaller animals, or left whole for the larger animals. All of them love things to lay on. People often throw these away, but shelters love them. Check yard sales, too. Often, people sell them very cheap.


3) Food. Dog food, cat food, or any other kind of animal food for the animals your shelter takes in. Sometimes, when the budget is stretched, food is needed badly. Consider using coupons or sales to get food at a discounted price to donate. Both dry and canned food can be used. Full bellies make animals happier in a scary situation. Mother's milk replacements (you can buy this at Walmart or pet supply stores such as Petsmart).

4) Treats. Treats are often on sale at stores, and can be purchased cheap. Both dogs and cats look forward to these treats whenever they can get them. Most any kind is appreciated. Rawhide bones are also well loved.

5) Placemats. Tired of your placemats? Ready for new ones? Have old ones stored that you never use? Cloth and vinyl placemats are both useful. Cats love them to lay on. Vinyl ones can be used under food bowls. Cloth ones can be used for a kitty sized bed. They don't even care if they are stained or "dated".

6) Cash. Of course, every shelter could use a donation of money. Go to to apply for a food coupon for YOUR pet, and Purina will give $1 to your local shelter. Every single dollar helps. Donate a couple of dollars of your own. Help stretch the shelter's budget. Most of the time, these donations are tax deductible.

7) Toys. If you were alone in a cage, wouldn't you want something to play with? Check with your shelter. Some take them, some don't, but animal toys are often overlooked, and they wear out fast. Squeaky toys, stuffed animals and even balls are played with by our furry friends.

8) Litter. Most shelters have lots and lots of cats, and change litter often. They can always use more litter. Litter boxes are also useful because they are always getting in more cats and kittens.

9) Laundry detergent. Those blankets, towels and things have to be washed. Laundry detergent, if not donated, comes out of the shelter's budget. Fabric softener is also very welcome!

10) Grooming items. Animals need to be bathed, brushed, and taken care of. Items to help groom them are not often donated. Sometimes, you can get these things from a dollar store cheap. Brushes, combs, shampoos, even animal nail clippers are useful items.


11) Cat or dog beds. If you have them, if you see them on sale, or if you know someone getting rid of theirs...animal beds are so loved by the animals. A soft place to lay and relax. Comfort is important.

12) Leashes and collars. Shelters often use them to walk animals, and they also often give them away with adoptions, so they are always in short supply. They aren't very expensive, but when you go through so many, the cost adds up for the shelters. All sizes are needed and used.

13) Newspaper. Lots of us have newspapers. Newspapers can line the bottoms of cages for puppied and kittens. It something that takes no effort to collect, but makes a lot of difference. Imagine how often those papers need to be changed!!! If you get the paper daily, why not set them aside in a box or something similar and take them every so often to your local shelter?

14) Food dishes. Can you imagine how many of these shelters go through on a regular basis? They get worn out, pushed around, and broken. New ones are also something that isn't expensive, but eats into a shelter budget.


15) Time. Can you go play with the animals on occasion? Can you help walk them, feed them, or care for them? Do you have room at your home to foster a loving pet until if finds a forever home? Shelters are often over-crowded, and sometimes under-staffed. Most are very happy to have volunteers. So much needs to be done on a day to day basis that often animals don't get the attention they long for. Even the smallest amount of time can make a huge difference at a shelter. Consider one day a week after work, or a couple of hours on a weekend. Consider opening your home to a foster animal or two. The shelter and the animals will be grateful.

Feel free to contact your local shelters. They may need things that aren't listed here. Some could use baby gates for wandering animals, or shelters that take in smaller animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs might need things like cages and water bottles. Your local shelter will be more than happy to let you know what they need. It takes very little to make a difference in the lives of animals.  -AAPA


Jennifer Bell, Yahoo! Contributor Network

How Will Your Donation Help?


$20 feeds a cat for 4 weeks.

​$25 Buys a case of food for an ill or elderly animal / helps deworm two shelter animals.  Covers basic exam and vaccinations for a dog or a cat.

​$50  Buys a canvas/pvc bed for a dog to lie on / Grooms a neglected dog to make it more adoptable / Buys a crate for a small dog or cat.

​$100 Cost to spay or neuter a dog or a cat / covers xrays for an injured pet / covers boarding for two nights for an animal rescued from a hi-kill shelter.

$150 Spays two cats and prevents up to 210 kittens​.

​$500 can help provide medical exams for 10 puppies or kittens.

​$1000 can spay / neutre 10 homeless dogs or cats.

​$2000 can feed 25 abandoned animals for three months.


*If  you can't donate, there are other ways to help.  Please read the article below by Jennifer Bell.