Skip to main content

Tips for Volunteering at Animal Shelters

If you are an animal lover, consider giving back to your local shelter. Read these 7 ways you can help support animal shelters.


A man in a volunteer shirt holding a dog

Everybody wants to be home for the holidays. Sadly, shelter pets don’t have that option yet. Animal shelters struggle to care for every animal they can, but they can’t do it alone—especially in colder months, when it’s less safe for animals to be outside. If you have a rescue pet or are just an animal lover in general, consider spreading some cheer this holiday by giving back to your local shelter. Here are some gifts they’ll love. (Spoiler alert: no fruitcake!).

Volunteer Your Time

Shelters always need volunteers who are willing to do lots of jobs. See what the volunteer process is like at the shelter nearest you. Whether you’re cleaning kennels or walking dogs, you’re helping animals.

Donate Toys

Who doesn’t love getting new toys during the holidays? Donate some new or gently used toys or balls to the shelter and let playtime begin.

Donate Food

If there’s one thing all animals need, it’s food—and lots of it! Contribute to a shelter dog’s holiday feast by donating bags of dog food or treats. You could even hold a dog-food drive in your community or at your holiday party. Just be sure to call the shelter in advance and ask what types and brands of food they accept. Bone appétit!

Volunteer Your Skills

Your creative talents can make you a huge asset to an animal shelter. Are you a photographer? Ask if you can help them take pictures of adoptable animals for their social media campaigns. Got Web design prowess? See if they need a hand with revamping their website. Chances are, if you have a skill to offer, the animal shelter will find a way to use it.

Donate Blankets

In the chilly winter months, shelter dogs need extra warmth, so donate old blankets and towels. Consider these blankets a surrogate for these shelter dogs when you’re not around to hug them.

Foster Animals

Shelters always need volunteers willing to foster animals in their homes. It may be daunting to have a dog friend for only a short amount of time as you foster them, but in the long run, you’ll help a bunch of dogs find new homes.

Contribute Financially

In order to keep saving animals, shelters rely on charitable donations. These donations are usually tax-deductible and are a good way to help with many different aspects of shelter care. You can donate to a shelter in your neighborhood or donate to national organizations, which help shelters all over.

And the easiest way to donate is through buying Nutrish® pet food. Did you know with every purchase of Nutrish® pet food and treats, a portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to The Rachael Ray Foundation?

This holiday season think of helping shelter animals as a gift to yourself. Remember that shelters need help all year round, so you can experience the joy of giving even when it isn’t a holiday.