5 Ways You Can Support Your Local Animal Shelters

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National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, which falls on Tuesday, April 30, this year, is a great opportunity to show some love to the cats and dogs waiting for their forever homes. Whether or not you're ready to commit to adding a furry member to your family, there are plenty of ways to support shelter pets in your community and beyond.

1. Adopt


If you want to change an animal's life, adopt one. Adoption provides a pet with a loving, stable home and possibly saves them from euthanization. It also has a positive impact on the pet industry as a whole: When you rescue a pet instead of buying one, you take money away from puppy mills that use harmful breeding practices. Not to mention that rescuing a pet costs a lot less than purchasing one from a store.

2. Foster

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If you can't commit to caring for a pet long-term, consider fostering one. Fostering pets opens up spots in animal shelters for more cats and dogs and potentially save lives. It also allows animals to experience the comfort of living with a family while they're still waiting for their permanent home.

3. Volunteer


Not everyone can welcome a pet into their home, but fortunately there are other ways to show your support for rescue animals. Reach out to your local shelter and see if they need volunteers. Shelter volunteers may be asked to do administrative work, like mailing applications and answering phones, as well as general pet care. By feeding, walking, and grooming shelter animals, you can get your pet fix without caring for one full-time.

4. Donate Items


Before throwing away the junk in your home, ask your local animal shelter if you can donate it. Shelters are often looking for items like towels, blankets, cleaning supplies, and old newspapers. Any excess pet supplies in your home, like toys, unopened food, and leashes, would also be put to good use at a shelter.

5. Donate Money


One of the easiest and most direct ways to help shelter animals beyond adopting is to give cash. Pet food, medications, microchips, and spay and neutering procedures all cost money, and for many shelters, private donations account for most of their budget. If you don't have a local organization in mind to support, you can donate to charities like the ASPCA and Best Friends to fund animal sanctuaries across the country.