8 Ways to Help Animals Today

dog on grass with trees
Up to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year. But bringing one home isn't the only way to make a major impact on a needy animal's life.
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Help Shelter Animals

Who could resist these faces? Even if you only have a minute, you can still lend a hand. Volunteer at your local humane society or animal shelter. There are many options for volunteer work, including shelter upkeep, adoption outreach, and interaction with the animals.

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Donate Supplies

Shelters always need blankets and towels, pet food and bowls, leashes, cleaning products, and more (and they often accept gently used items). Up the ante by organizing a drive at work or in your neighborhood.

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Snap Some Pics

It's a fact: Shelter pets are more likely to be adopted if their online profile includes a photo. Since organizations don't always have time to photograph every animal that's up for adoption, volunteer to take a few shots. Promote them on social media to reach even more potential adoptees.

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Take On a Foster Pet

Shelters and rescue groups don't always have enough space or resources to house every animal that comes to them, which means they have to turn some away. Help out by fostering a dog or cat until it finds a permanent home. And it doesn't have to be a major commitment: Some organizations will let you foster a pet for just a weekend.

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Give Nourishment

Next time you're running errands, pick up an extra can or bag of pet food. Then drop pet food into collection bins found at all Petco stores. The chain works with a network of food pantries to help ensure families in need can feed their pets.

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Fight Cruelty

Help put an end to inhumane puppy and kitten mills by writing to your member of Congress. Ask him or her to support bills that would enforce stricter standards for commercial breeding. You can also petition your local pet store to support pet adoptions instead of selling puppies from mills.

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Do Some Shopping

A little retail therapy goes a long way. When you buy a subscription box from BarkBox, a monthly delivery service custom of toys and chews, using a code from your local shelter or rescue, the company donates $25 to the animal organization. Order a sweet treat for yourself from Baking for Good and choose to send 15 percent of the proceeds to animal charities. Fetch Eyewear (super-chic specs!) donates 100 percent of profits to animal-rescue initiatives.

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Go Online and Get Social

Just one click (literally) at The Animal Rescue Site and Freekibble helps donate pet food to shelters. Also, for each marketing survey you take at the SurveyMonkey Contribute website, you can send 50 cents to one of its animal-charity partners. Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet make it easy to share online rescue pet listings on your Facebook page and Twitter feed. It might be love at first post for someone in your network!

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Break a Sweat

Join Team ASPCA to train for a race and raise money for needy pets. Choose from various running events, like a 5K, 10K, marathon, or triathlon, and the ASPCA will help you set up a fundraising website.

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