How You Can Support and Donate to an Animal Shelter

May is National Pet Month! There is no denying that we Americans love our pets. In fact, an astounding $62.75 billion dollars is forecasted to be spent in 2016 in the U.S. pet industry.1 Most pets are considered treasured family members and enjoy lots of love and affection. In stark contrast to the lives of our pampered pets is the plight of the tens of millions of strays that roam across the U.S. Many animal lovers are left wondering what they can do to help.

We rely on animal shelters to do the hard work associated with caring for strays. There are approximately 13,600 independent community animal shelters in the U.S. that exist to rescue, nurture, protect and ultimately find homes for as many animals as possible. Their job is an exhausting one with about 7.6 million companion animals entering shelters nationwide every year.2

Aid to animals also comes in the form of pet pantries. More and more pet pantries are popping up across the country to help families who struggle to afford food and supplies for their pets. Without these pantries, many of these beloved family pets would end up in animal shelters.

Pet pantries and animal shelters operate largely on donations from the community. So just how can you show your support? There are four main ways you can help your local animal shelter:

  1. Cash donations. Without cash donations most shelters and pantries would be unable to run their operations. Any amount large or small can make the difference in the life of an animal.
  2. Volunteering. Contact your local animal shelter and schedule time to help out at the shelter.
  3. Donating items. Every item donated frees up cash for other areas of the shelter’s operation. While individual animal shelters have specific needs, the following are top items that are generally in high demand at all animal shelters: cleaning supplies (bleach, laundry detergent, soap, garbage bags), treats, toys, and pet beds and linens.
  4. Virtual volunteering. This simply means using the internet to support a charity. Perhaps you can do some bookkeeping from your home computer or help with their website or run an online drive.

A YouGiveGoods drive is a great option for you to support an animal shelter. It is a form of virtual volunteering since you don't ever have to leave your house! And, it is the most efficient, engaging way to get most-needed items delivered to the charity. Start a drive today in honor of National Pet Month and be a source of aid and comfort to countless animals.

1 APPA (American Pet Products Association)

2 ASPCA

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