Dog shelters are typically run on a tight budget. That forces paid employees and volunteers to search for ways to provide adequate care while keeping an eye on the bottom line. Donations go a long way to make up the difference. We’ve put together a list of the some of the best items to donate along with one that you should probably keep at home or discard somewhere else.
The Shelter Donation Do’s
- Food and TreatsAs you can imagine, a significant portion of a shelter’s budget goes to food. After all, there are a lot of mouths to feed. Every few weeks, you can pick up an extra bag or can of dog food to drop off at the shelter.
- Dog BedsIf you’re moving your dog to a new bed (or your bed with it’s pillow top mattress pad), a shelter could really use your dog’s old one. However, it should be intact with no filling coming out so that a dog isn’t tempted to chew and potentially swallow the filling.
While a dog bed of any kind makes a great donation, waterproof/resistant beds that resist mold and fungus are particularly coveted for the extra hygiene they offer. The bed size doesn’t matter because dogs of all breeds end up in shelters.
- Blankets and TowelsBlankets and towels come in handy for all kinds of purposes. For example, they can be used as bedding when a dog bed isn’t available or, in the case of towels, used to clean up messes or accidents. Fleece blankets, in particular, work well because they’re soft and warm, giving shelters dogs a small piece of comfort while they wait for their forever home.
- Collars and LeashesMany dogs enter the shelter without a collar. A collar and leash make it easier for volunteers to care for the dogs as needed. Like other donated items, the collar and leash should be in reasonably good condition so they don’t break while in use.
- Dog ToysLike dog beds, as long as they’re in fairly good condition, toys make a great donation. It can be a lonely and sometimes boring existence at a shelter, and toys give the dogs something to do. Even your child’s discarded stuffed animals can be used at a shelter. And, if toys are on sale, you might want to pick up an extra for the shelter dogs.
- Cleaning SuppliesEmployees and volunteers work hard to keep shelters clean and safe for their temporary borders. Cleaning supplies like newspapers, paper towels, and hand sanitizer are needed. We suggest calling ahead to find out what supplies might be needed and the type of cleaners preferred
A Shelter Donation Don’t
Here it is, the item that shelters may get offered that simply don’t work—mattresses. Yes, they’re soft and comfortable, but there simply isn’t room in a shelter. Even if there was, mattresses are thick and soak up liquids, which can quickly become unsanitary in a crowded shelter.
Though you may not be able to adopt every dog at the shelter, your donations make their lives and the lives of those caring for them easier. Your donations also help those running the shelter to use the budget for other needed services.