5 Easy Ways to Help Shelter Pets This Holiday

As we kick off the holiday shopping season, you might also be thinking about ways to give back to those in need. Shelter animals can always use your help — and it doesn’t have to take a huge amount of effort (or money) to make a big impact.

We have five simple ideas for you in the gallery below. Of course, needs vary from shelter to shelter, so we recommend checking with your local shelter once you’ve been inspired to pitch in!

How You Can Help

sad dog lying on blanket


Share Posts on Social Media

You know those posts. The ones with the heart-melting photos of adoptable animals that show up in your social media feeds and make you want to reach out and hug the featured animal. While you might not be able to adopt the dogs or cats you see on social media right now (or at least not all of them), you can easily help spread the word. Just become a fan of your favorite shelter or rescue group’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, if you haven’t already. You’ll get to see cute photos of pets in need, and if you share or retweet, you might help find them the perfect home. If you’ve adopted an animal, the volunteers want to hear your success stories, too. Take a minute to say thanks with a post of your happy cat or dog and an update on how he's doing. It’s rewarding for the volunteers, and you could inspire someone else who sees it to adopt, too.

laptop and cup of coffee


Donate Money

Here’s another thing you can do from the comfort of your home or office: Head to your local shelter or rescue’s website and make a holiday contribution with just a few clicks. Any amount you can give will be welcome. Lots of animal groups also have wish lists set up online that make it easy for you to donate what they need. They often also appreciate gift cards to big-box stores. But if your budget is too tight at this time of year to make a monetary donation, there are plenty of other ways to give.

stack of towels in different colors


Donate Used Items

You might not realize that you have lots of items around your home that could benefit animal shelters — and help you clean out your closets. Many rescues can put old towels, newspapers, and new or gently used dog or cat beds to good use. Some will take toys you’ve made from recyclables, according to The Humane Society. But check your shelter's website first to see what it needs and will accept.

Dogs in Crate in Car


Drive for Transport

Many rescue groups and some shelters use volunteers to transport rescue animals to areas where they’re more likely to find homes. Depending on the group you’re working with, the amount of time you put in volunteering could be anywhere from a few hours to a full weekend — just let the staff know what you can commit to.

happy cat getting a chin scratch


Spend Time With the Animals

Shelter cats and dogs need socialization and someone to lift their spirits. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, you might be able to squeeze in some time for a cuddle. Some shelters allow screened volunteers to take dogs out for short outings, like a hike or just a drive. You both get exercise, the dog gets time away from the shelter — and you'll lower your own holiday-related stress level! If you want to take it to the next level, consider giving a shelter pet a temporary foster home for the holidays. Some shelters have fewer volunteers this time of year — or ones who could use a break. It’s a gift for everyone: the pet, the volunteers and you.

More From Vetstreet:


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!