Top Things YOU Can Donate to Help Your Local Animal Shelter

Posted: April 24, 2012 in How You Can Help
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As much as we all might want to, we can’t bring home all of those fuzzy faces we see in our local animal shelter. BUT that does not mean we still can’t help make their lives better while they wait eagerly for someone to adopt them! You might be surprised by some of the things your local animal shelter is in need of, and how some of it may just be laying around your own home at this very moment. Why not put those items to good use? Donating old towels, newspapers, blankets, and other items can make a big difference.

We’ve compiled a list of items that most animal shelters are always in need of, but feel free to call your local shelter to find out how you can help. No amount of time or any donation is ever too small, and if everyone just pitches in a little bit, we can make a huge difference in the lives of animals in need.

Old Newspapers:

Instead of tossing out your old newspapers when you’re done with them, you can donate them to your local shelter. Newspaper is often used to line the bottoms of cat cages and needs to be changed often This inexpensive donation item makes a huge difference. If you have friends who you know toss out their leftover newspapers, you can ask them for their old papers to donate as well.

Plastic Bags:

Those plastic bags a lot of us bring our groceries home in are wonderful donation items. When dogs at the shelter are taken for walks plastic bags come in very handy for picking up any droppings that may occur along the way. Not only does donating your plastic bags help the shelter, but it also is a great way to see that the plastic bag is reused.

Leashes, Harnesses, and Collars:

We’ve all seen just how excited a dog can get when you pull out their leash to take them for a walk. Shelter dogs are no exception, and love getting out to sniff around and get some exercise. If you have a leash, harness, or collar that your pet has outgrown or no longer needs, your local shelter is sure to have an animal that it would be just perfect for!

Cat Litter:

You think your cat(s) at home go through a lot of litter? Imagine how quickly a shelter full of cats can go through it!

Food & Treats:

All those cute little faces you see in the shelter need plenty of food to stay happy and healthy. Dog and cat food donations are always appreciated, and some shelters (depending on the type of animals they take in) may even accept other foods such as guinea pig or bird food. Donating pet food can be made cheaper by watching for sales and using coupons. (We’ll try to keep you guys posted on weekly deals we find in the Michigan area!)

As for treats, lets be honest, who doesn’t love getting treats? Newspapers often feature coupons on both dog treats and cat treats. Combining coupons with sales can dramatically cut down the cost of pet treats, making them an easy-on-your-budget item to donate.

Old Towels & Blankets:

People often throw away old and faded blankets and towels, but these items make really good donation items! Having a towel to dry them off and a warm blanket to lay on can make any shelter animal much happier. If you don’t have any blankets or towels at home you want to get rid of, you can always find cheap ones at thrift stores, garage sales, and even some dollar stores!


You’d be surprised just how far your dollar can go in a shelter. Every donation makes a difference, so don’t ever feel that your donation is too small.

Your Time:

Donating your time won’t cost you any money at all, but it will make such a big difference to the animals you’re helping. Most animal shelters will accept volunteers, and even just donating a few hours of your week can really help out. Animals need fed, bathed, walked, and played with. It also helps socialize animals for their future homes when they have a variety of people to play and interact with at the shelter. That little bit of affection you give an animal could be the best part of their day, as well as yours.

Basic Cleaning Products:

Items such as paper towels, hand soap, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and products such as window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach are often over-looked items that make great donations. These items will help keep the shelter clean and are items that can often be found right at your local dollar store!

Cat or Dog Beds:

If you have a gently used dog bed or cat bed that you no longer have need for, there are plenty of shelter animals that would love a comfy place to sleep.

These are just some of the items shelters often are in need of, but you can often visit your local shelter’s website to find out just what they might need at that point and time. The workers and animals will appreciate any amount of help you can offer, so we hope this article inspires people to take action in any way they can. No donation is ever too small, and every little bit helps.


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