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How to Help Animal Shelters: A Guide to Making a Difference


Animal shelters can’t function properly without the support of surrounding communities. And since they are nonprofit facilities, shelters rely on public assistance and funding. Without community support, animal shelters become overcrowded and lack the resources to care for unhoused pets.  

You can save the lives of countless animals and rehabilitate strays by supporting shelters in your area. 

How to Help Animal Shelters

When thinking about how to help animal shelters, it’s essential to understand the daily issues they face. The limited resources they receive go toward caring for homeless animals. That includes providing basic necessities like food and water — as well as emotional and medical care. 

While donating money is helpful, you can also make other contributions to help shelters in your community. You can encourage greater involvement through fundraising events or raising awareness about reducing the number of displaced animals in your city. Often, the best way to help is to contact local animal shelters to ask about their specific needs.

Why Are Animal Shelters Important?

When the public doesn’t understand the vital function that animal shelters serve, people are less likely to offer support to them. These nonprofit facilities provide temporary protection for stray and homeless pets. In doing so, they keep those animals safe and healthy. 

Just as importantly, shelters keep strays from creating situations where the animals or people in the community could face harm. In looking at the multiple benefits of this type of animal care, it’s easy to understand the importance of knowing how to help animal shelters.

Sheltering and Caring for Animals

Stray animals deal with many of the same problems as people who experience homelessness. These issues include starvation, dehydration, the spread of illness, and increased risks for physical injuries. When arriving at a shelter, these animals must undergo a medical evaluation to determine their medical care needs.

Even after the animals receive medical treatment for their conditions, they need consistent care with food, water, bedding, and training. Shelters try to extend their limited resources to meet these basic needs for every animal under their supervision.

Adoption and Fostering Programs

So many animals of all breeds and ages end up in shelters and need loving homes. Shelters make the adoption process as simple as possible. Shelter animals often require more dedication and effort to get them accumulated to new homes/animals/people than animals from a rescue organization. Make sure to do proper research before adopting to see if getting an animal from a shelter is right for you.

Fostering is another way to help shelters in your community. Due to the large number of homeless animals, facilities can quickly become overcrowded. Even if you don’t know how to run a dog rescue, fostering just one dog or cat will leave more room in the shelter for other animals. 

What Is Causing Animal Shelter Problems?

Several factors contribute to the financial limitations of animal shelters. In addition to receiving insufficient funding, shelters face a great need for their services as the number of homeless pets grows. This raises their operating costs and need for volunteers.

Lack of Funding and Resources

How do animal shelters work when they lack the funding to provide adequate animal care? In most cases, they find it impossible to meet every need. While they stretch their resources as far as possible, shelters can’t meet all their animals' needs without the community's financial and physical support. 

Overpopulation and Limited Space

Many shelters are overrun with homeless dogs and cats. It’s especially true for adult animals since most people want to adopt puppies and kittens. When looking for the best animal shelters to donate to, consider factors like overcrowding, lack of resources, and volume of intake to help you make a better choice. 

Medical and Behavioral Treatments

It’s difficult to understand how to run an animal shelter effectively without considering the medical needs of the animals. In addition to providing care for physical illnesses and injuries, shelters also try to meet the demands for behavioral treatments when possible. 

Behavioral medication and training help improve the animal’s quality of life in the facility. They also make them better candidates for adoption. These things require both financial aid, proper resources, and enough people to make it happen. 

5 Ways to Help Animal Shelters

In addition to donating money or pet supplies, there are a few other ways you can help animal shelters in your community:

1. Support Spay/Neuter Programs

People failing to spay or neuter their pets significantly contributes to overcrowding and underfunding at shelters. Just one litter of unwanted kittens or puppies can lead to an epidemic of homeless animals. You can help reduce the number of homeless animals in your community by educating people about the importance of spaying and neutering, spaying or neutering your own pets, and keeping a watchful eye out for loose pets in your area.

2. Sponsor an Animal

If you want to make sure your donation of money or supplies goes to a homeless pet, consider sponsoring an animal. It’s similar to fostering an animal in that you’ll donate toward the animal’s care, but it will stay in the shelter. That helps offset the shelter’s operating costs and is a less hands-on option for people who aren’t able to foster.

3. Fundraising Event

When looking for animal shelter project ideas that will have a broader positive effect, consider organizing a fundraising event. It’s a great way to involve individuals and businesses in the effort. You can have fun with a fundraiser by organizing a carnival, concert, or other enjoyable activity. Talking to your local shelters to coordinate events can help you to better understand their needs and even gather more volunteers to help raise awareness and funds.

4. Volunteer Your Time

People often ask, “How can I help animals in my community?” But when doing so, they don’t consider giving their time to the cause. In addition to financial donations, many animal shelters need help running their facilities. A few hours a day can provide worthwhile assistance to an overburdened shelter. Actions as simple as walking the dogs, aiding to their socialization, and cleaning the facility make a huge impact for overcrowded shelters.

5. Buy from Companies Practicing Ethical and Social Responsibility

You can also help animal shelters by looking for businesses that support them. For example, Cloud Haven has donated more than $120,000 to animal rescue organizations over the past two years. They are also official sponsors of the Stand Up for Pits Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides rescue and care for pit bulls and related breeds. More carefully choosing the companies you support can create a bigger positive impact than you might think!

Learn More About Our Animal Welfare Efforts at Cloud Haven

For Cloud Haven’s founder, Tish Linendoll Ivie, animal welfare has been a lifelong affair of the heart. While Cloud Haven’s commercial interest is in providing the highest-quality jewelry for film, modeling, and public events, the company is also dedicated to helping save the lives of animals across the country.

In addition to making a personal effort to aid animal shelters in your area, you can encourage others within your community to get involved. Learn more about how to help by contacting local animal welfare organizations today!