Things Most Animal Shelters Need As Donations

What donations do animal shelters need most? What can I donate to an animal shelter? What supplies do animal shelters want? How do I make a donation to an animal shelter? What things do animal shelters want as donations? Can I give rotten meat to an

Many animal shelters rely on donations from the public. Of course money is always one of the things they need most but what other donations does your local animal shelter need?  Some of these items are things you may already have around the house.

Some of the donations most needed by animal shelters are things you may have around the house already, others are things you can go out and buy. If you wish to make a donation to your local animal shelter you can call and ask what they need, or you can select from the list here as these items are often needed by any shelter.

Pet Supplies

  • Stainless Steel Bowls – most shelters will not accept plastic bowls as they are hard to disinfect.
  • Cat Litter – call to find out what kind they use, some use clumping only, some refuse to use clumping litter.
  • Pet Toys – very often shelters have lots of cat toys but fall short on dog toys mostly because dogs tend to destroy their toys.
  • Towels, Quilts and Pet Beds – If you have old towels, quilts, or an old pet bed, these are often appreciated by the shelter. Since these items are often destroyed by the dogs, do not buy new, but donate your old items instead. Quilts are especially good for dogs to lay on.
  • KMR – Many shelters often have orphaned kittens to care for, especially in the summer, so KMR is good for them to have. This is a kitten milk replacement product that is expensive to buy.
  • Collars and Leashes – Most shelters need collars and leashes for the dogs. Usually shorter leashes are preferred over the retractable ones.
  • Pet Shampoo, and Flea Shampoo, is often welcome
  • Flea Medication - this is something you should phone about, since shelter pets are indoors they do not normally require flea medication, as well many over the counter flea products are risky to use.  Flea combs may be appreciated.

Pet Food

Some animal shelters use a certain kind of food only so that their pets stay on the same diet, sometimes they even get this food donated to them by a pet food company. You should phone before buying any kind of pet food to see if there is a brand they prefer or a certain type of food they really need (such as food for puppies, large dogs, older cats, and so on).

Shelters that also have exotic pets, or birds, may also need food for those animals as well.

Treats – Some shelters get an over abundance of donated treats but they still appreciate these as donations. Try to select healthy treats.

Note that people sometimes want to donate old meat from their freezer to the animal shelter.  Most shelters will not accept this, you should call ahead first.

Other Supplies Needed by Animal Shelters

  • Most shelters can always use more office supplies, such as paper, pens, pencils, and so forth.
  • Garbage Bags
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bleach
  • Wash Cloths, and so forth

Your Time

Another thing that animal shelters appreciate is having your time donated. Volunteers are always needed to walk dogs, play with the cats, or to help with the laundry and dishes. They may need volunteers for fund raising.  You should call ahead to ask about volunteer opportunities at your local animal shelter as each shelter tends to handle volunteers differently.  In some cases even kids can help.


As mentioned earlier, money, is one of the things animal shelters need the most. Most animal shelters have charity status and will give a tax receipt for financial donations. Some shelters have special funds you can donate money to specifically (such as a spay or neuter fund, or an emergency care fund) or you can make a general donation.


Some animal shelters will accept coupons and other such items that they can use to purchase supplies. In Canada, some animal shelters accept Canadian Tire Money.


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Francina Marie Parks
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Roberta Baxter
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Lorena Williams
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