What to Donate to an Animal Rescue Shelter

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We adopted both of our dogs. Our current dog, Lila, was rescued from a New York City animal shelter. Not only are we proponents of adopting pets, we also support our local animal shelters and rescue groups. One year when my daughter was 10, she even had a birthday party requesting donations for our local shelter rather than gifts. Knowing what to donate to an animal rescue shelter and what is is most needed has helped us focus our donation efforts to have the maximum impact. Use this free printable checklist of 35 donation ideas that are $10 or less each to help your local animal rescue group.

Dog looking at camera surrounded by bags of dog food, dog toys and cleaning supplies with title text overlay reading What to Donate to an Animal Rescue Shelter

Our dog, Lila, is absolutely adorable, so smart and such a wonderful part of our family. Can you believe that she spent much too long in the animal shelter and was even returned by her first adopting family?! We’ve had her with us for 13 years and she’s moved to 4 homes with us. Lila’s story has a happy ending. But there are hundreds of thousands of other pets waiting to find their forever families. You can make a big difference in their lives by donating to your local animal rescue shelter. Donations not only help the animals already with the animal rescue group, but also allows them to help more animals. 

You don’t even have to leave your home to start gathering items to donate.  You can hover over the image below to shop Purina® pet food at PetSmart, such as Purina® Pro Plan Grain Free Shredded Blend Turkey, Duck and Quail or Purina® ONE True Instinct.

What to Donate to An Animal Rescue Shelter

checklist of 30 items under $10 to donate to an animal shelter

If you’ve wondered what would be most helpful, here are 35 donation ideas, $10 or less each, on a free printable checklist that will be greatly appreciated by animal rescue shelters. Of course, always check their website or call first to confirm what items they need at that specific time. 

Food Items

  • Dry Dog Food
  • Dry Cat Food
  • Wet Dog Food
  • Wet Cat Food
  • Puppy Food
  • Kitten Food
  • Dog Treats
  • Cat Treats
  • Food for other types animals in the shelter

My dog, Lila, is a big fan of Purina dog food. 

  • Purina Pro Plan – Lila has enjoyed it since she tried it as part of our Growing Old(er) Together time almost three years ago. There is a Grain Free option that provides real, high-quality protein as the first ingredient, is made with alternative sources of carbohydrates rather than grains or soy, and contains no added artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no poultry by-product meal.
  • Purina ONE – Lila also likes Purina One because real meat, fish or poultry is always the first ingredient and it is back by over 90 years of Purina innovation in pet nutrition.

Right now there are amazing offers that allow you to save on your own pet food or to purchase food to donate. If you spend $20 on Purina products at PetSmart from 4/3/18 through 5/18/18, you’ll receive a $5 PetSmart gift card. Simply purchase $20 of Purina products in one transaction at PetSmart for your first submission and subsequent purchases can be made on multiple receipts. Register to receive an entry into the Grand Prize Sweepstakes. You can then upload your receipt on the Purina Fortunes website. Once your purchase is validated, you’ll receive notification of your gift. The physical $5 PetSmart gift card will be mailed to you in 8-10 weeks. 

collage of 4 images of items to donate to an animal shelter, like towels, cleaning supplies, office supplies and bandannas

You can also share this $5 gift card promotion for each $20 purchase on Facebook and Twitter via the Purina Fortunes website.

Blankets, Towels, Rags, Beds 

dog wrapped in towel looking at camera

Shelters can use new or used blankets, towels and rags. This is the perfect time to declutter your linen closet and donate those extra items that aren’t being used (but could be used as an animal shelter donation). Check with your local shelter to see if they accept gently-used pet beds. 

Cleaning Supplies

You can imagine how much cleaning occurs when you’re caring for multiple up to hundreds of animals. Refer to the What to Donate to an Animal Shelter checklist, but some often needed cleaning supplies are:

  • Hand Soap
  • Disinfecting Cleaners
  • Paper Towels
  • Sponges
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Mops & Brooms
  • Garbage bags

Office Supplies

In addition to caring for animals, animal rescue groups also have extensive office and paperwork requirements. Donations of office supplies allows the animal rescue group to focus more of their budget on direct animal care and adoption activities.

Animal Toys

dog looking up at camera surrounded by dog toys

All animals deserve some fun and play in their their day, and shelter animals especially appreciate the distraction provided by toys.

Props and Accessories

brown and tan dog with flag bandanna looking at something

While you and I may see a particular animal as absolutely adorable and adoptable, some people need a little marketing nudge (especially in today’s Instagram-worthy world). Having props and accessories to up the cuteness factor in photos and meet-and-greets can help animals be adopted quicker. Lila seems to stand a bit prouder with her bandanna and it’s the same with many animals. 

Your Time and Skills

Most (and I would say all) animal rescue shelters and groups operate understaffed and short-handed. They have limited budgets and are often not able to hire the staff or skills that they really need. When you volunteer your time or unique skills, you make an invaluable contribution that truly makes a difference. Sometimes the most valuable donations to an animal shelter are time and effort. In addition to cleaning and caring for animals, you could contribute the following skills:

  • Grooming
  • Animal Training
  • Photography
  • Computer 
  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media
  • Repair Work
  • Staging
  • Organizing
  • Event Planning
  • Fund Raising
store aisle with bags of dog food with insert of dog standing by a bag of dog food

Last week, Lila and I headed to PetSmart to go shopping. We both love having an adventure together. Lila could spend days in PetSmart sniffing everything a hundred times and exploring. I appreciate that I can get everything I want for Lila and to donate to my local pet rescue group in one place. As an organizer (and person who doesn’t like to wander around a store as much as Lila does), I appreciate that every aisle is clearly marked so I was able to easily find the Purina Pro Plan Grain Free and the Purina ONE dog food on the designated aisles.

With the Paws of Fate game, you can instantly win prizes such as PetSmart gift cards (which can be used to purchase even more donations for an animal shelter!). There is no purchase necessary and with both a desktop and mobile version of the game, it’s easy to play to win these prizes:

  • 1 Dreams of Fortune Custom Cat Bed (AVR of $2,145)
  • 1 Dreams of Fortune Custome Dog Bed (AVR of $2,145)
  • 50 Purina Branded Tarot Cards (AVR of $25 each)
  • 15 $50 PetSmart Gift Cards
  • 15 $25 PetSmart Gift Cards
  • 25 $10 PetSmart Gift Cards

Do you have a rescue pet in your family? Please consider what you can donate to an animal rescue shelter.  And check out the Purina Fortunes website to learn more about program, to access the rebate and the Paws of Fate instant win game. The money you save with the rebate and prizes you win could go to help more animals when you donate them to an animal rescue group or shelter

More ideas with Lila and Purina:

For more ideas for your dog, check out the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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One Comment

  1. These are all great ideas! I have a friend who fosters senior dogs and she really appreciates it when one of her friends donates things to her to help her care for the dog.

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