Our List of Pet Charities and Other Non-Monetary Ways You Can Help Animals
As pet parents and animal lovers, our team here at BarxBuddy is always looking for ways to give back. You, too, can make a HUGE difference in the lives of animals in your community and across the globe, not only by making donations but by doing the right thing when it comes to caring for animals. In this post, we list charities for animals as well as other, non-monetary ways you can give back and help homeless pets.
Even the smallest of actions like choosing products not tested on animals or supporting an animal advocacy group can significantly improve the lives of pets in the home and wildlife in natural habitats. As part of our commitment to the care and protection of animals, we want to share 10 ways you can give back to the pet community. We recognize that not everyone can donate money to help homeless pets, so here is our list of ways to give back to the pet community, in addition to listing the best charities for animals.
1. Volunteer at Your Local Shelter or Rescue
Contact your local shelter or rescue and let them know you are interested in donating your time. A volunteer position is a great way to help homeless pets. It can also be a gratifying experience. Shelters often need volunteers for a host of tasks such as:
- Cleaning cages
- Filling water and food bowls
- Walking the dogs
- Playing with the cats
- Spending time with the animals
If you cannot work directly with the animals, your shelter may need help with other tasks like fundraising efforts.
2. Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Spaying or neutering your pet is a must. It can reduce your pet’s need to roam in search of a mate, accidental breeding, and in turn, keeps animals off the streets and out of shelters and rescues.
3. Adopt, Don’t Shop
Not sure about whether you want to adopt or buy a pet from a breeder? Here are a few reasons why adoption is better:
You can save a life. Each year over 1.5 million adoptable animals are euthanized in shelters across the nation, according to the ASPCA. This number is much higher than the number of people adopting. When you adopt, you also open a space for another animal that needs it.
You will save money. Adoption costs often include spaying/neutering and first vaccinations, whereas breeders typically charge a premium for their dogs. Because many shelter pets are already trained and have lived with families, you can save on housebreaking and training expenses.
You can still get a purebred. If you’re set on a purebred, you have a good chance of finding one in your local shelter. According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 25% of the pets in shelters are purebreds. You can also adopt through breed-specific rescue groups, which you can find through the AKC.
You can fight puppy mills. Adopting from a local shelter ensures you aren’t unknowingly supporting puppy mills that put profits above the welfare of the dogs.
That said, we are not anti-purebred. We encourage you to do your homework before adopting or buying any animal, to ensure that you are supporting an organization that puts the welfare of the animals as a top priority. Read more about adopting versus buying a pet.
4. Support Animal Protection Campaigns, Programs, and Legislation
Be the voice for your pet and support pro-animal ordinances, campaigns, programs, and legislation. Sending letters, emails, and making phone calls lets your elected officials know you care about laws that affect animals. If you feel a law should be on the books but isn’t, tell your lawmakers what you want.
5. Use Cruelty-Free Products
Ensuring your cosmetics and household products are cruelty-free can help protect animals like bunnies, dogs, and monkeys, used in laboratory testing. How do you know if a product is cruelty-free? Here are a few ways:
Look for the Leaping Bunny logo. The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), a group of eight national animal protection groups, created the internationally recognized logo as a way to spot products that are not animal-tested.
Check your local retailers. Many stores, including CVS, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, carry Leaping-Bunny certified brands. Natural grocery stores and co-ops have a variety of cruelty-free products.
Ask companies if they use animal testing. If you find a brand that isn’t on the Leaping-Bunny list, contact them and inquire whether they test ingredients or products on animals. Look for customer service numbers on the packaging or the brand’s website.
6. Spread the Word
Share information about the importance of adoption, animal cruelty, and welfare laws. Any animal-related topic or issue that is close to your heart, spread the word. It costs nothing to share good information.
7. Reduce the Meat in Your Diet
Meat consumption in the United States is one of the highest in the world. This demand puts tremendous pressure on farmers to increase production, leading to livestock in poor living conditions. Reducing your animal protein intake or substituting plant-based alternatives for meat products can help address this problem.
8. Shop Animal-Free Fashions
If you’re interested in making a difference with the fabrics and materials used in clothing, go with plant-based cotton, linen, and hemp. Avoid clothing made out of leather, exotic skins, and furs. Over 300 brands and retailers have adopted fur-free policies, according to HSUS, including:
- Michael Kors
9. Donate Your Time, Money, and Supplies to a Charity
Donating to a non-profit is a win-win. The organization receives much-needed hands-on help, financial support, or supplies like grooming tools, training treats, and busy toys. At the same time, you get to do something you’re passionate about and potentially take a write-off on your taxes.
Some of the most effective animal charities are in your own backyard. Start your search close to home.
Some of the largest charities that help animals also have local chapters and events:
- The Humane Society of the United States
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
- Ocean Conservancy
10. What Are the Best Charities for Animals? Make Sure the Nonprofit is Legit
Donating whatever you can to charities for animals, whether local, national, or international, is a noble act. However, if you’re donating to a lesser known charity, you might want to ensure it is legitimate. Before you donate, the Federal Trade Commission has a few tips:
- Research the cause online, including through the IRS
- Check out the charity’s website and social media channels
- Use one of the following organizations to research charities
- Find out if the charity and/or fundraiser is registered (if required in your state)
- Ask the charity if donations are tax-deductible (if important to you)
From all of us at BarxBuddy, we thank you for giving back to the pet community.