Ways to give back and help animals during the holiday season

By Kristia Goodnight

From volunteering to donating, many pet lovers are looking for ideas on how to give back this holiday season and helping animals in need is a perfect place to start. Giving back to the community is a great way to spread holiday cheer and create meaningful family traditions.

Each of us can make an impactful difference in helping animals in our communities. The holiday season is the perfect time to give back. If you’re wondering what’s the best way to help animals, know there is no one best way to give back. Pet shelters have many needs, meaning pet lovers have many opportunities to give during the holidays.

If you’re short on time but have the financial ability, donating directly to animal shelters is a great way to make a huge impact quickly. Are you wondering exactly how to donate to a pet shelter? Here are a few ways to help your local pet shelters.

What to donate to animal shelters during the holidays:

What not to donate:

Most animal shelters cannot accept homemade pet treats, open pet medications, and opened bags of food or treats. Check with your local shelter online or give them a call for a list of the most-needed and unacceptable items.

Volunteer your time for pet shelters

Maybe you’re thinking of how to give back this holiday season if you have more free time than funds. Volunteering your time and skills helps pet shelters in invaluable ways.

Volunteering at a pet shelter is a way to feel fulfilled, knowing your skills and time are directly helping animals in need. Consider starting a holiday tradition of giving back to the community by volunteering at your local animal shelter.

Foster pets for your local shelter

Fostering shelter animals is one of the most rewarding ways to help animals, especially during the holidays. Fostering a shelter animal helps them to get ready to find a forever home. Fostering saves lives, either the life of the foster pet who can now be ready for adoption, or the life of the pet who takes the now-open spot at the pet shelter.

Fostering is a big commitment in both time and love, but it is rewarding on a life-changing level. Daily shelter life is especially hard on some pets. A safe home environment can do wonders for shelter pets' physical and mental health. This can help them be more adoptable to potential forever families.

Foster pets are often the pets who need extra TLC like young puppies or kittens who need extra care, senior pets, or pets who need a little time to better trust people and other pets.

Foster care for shelter pets is simple. The animal shelter typically covers costs, the pets' lives are vastly improved, and it is so enriching for the pet and your family. If you have a compassionate personality and a patient heart, you could make a wonderful foster family for a shelter pet.

As a foster family, you will care for the pet as if it were your own: taking them to vet appointments, setting up their pet protection service, possibly training classes, bathing, brushing, and playing with them to help them grow into their best self.

Most animal shelters have an ongoing need for foster families. If you feel you could make space in your home and your heart for a shelter pet, consider fostering. Reach out to your local animal shelter to discuss their foster application process.

Become a Temporary Foster

If fostering a pet is something you may be interested in but are a bit unsure about the commitment, you can become a temporary foster. When foster families travel for vacations or especially during the holidays, they sometimes need a temp foster to care for their foster pets for a week or two.

As you can imagine, the need for temporary foster homes peaks around the holidays. You can even think of it like pet sitting for a friend.

Becoming a temporary foster is a great way to get a feel for the joy of fostering animals while helping animals in need. Some pet shelters will post on their social media accounts when they need full-time and temporary fosters.

You may be able to fill out a foster family application on the pet shelter’s website. You can always reach out directly to the pet shelter about temporary fostering. They would love to hear from you.

Give Back to Animals During the Holiday Season

Many people enjoy giving back at Christmas and are often looking for new ways on how to give back during the holidays. Donating, volunteering, and fostering animals in pet shelters is a perfect way to give back and spread holiday cheer.

Pet lovers know the power of helping animals in need by giving back at Christmas time. When we give back in our communities, we gain so much more in return. Each of us can make a tangible difference for animals in our holiday giving. With pet shelters facing so many widespread challenges, it takes all our collective efforts to change things for the better