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16 Ways You Can Give Back to Pets This Holiday Season

Volunteer with dog


Your pets do a lot for you. They provide you with unconditional love, are always willing snuggle buddies, and will listen to your problems without judgment. Yep, pets are pretty amazing. This holiday season, you can give back to pets so they can continue to spread happiness and love.

Donating to a shelter or animal rescue is a popular way to give back to pets, as is volunteering your time. You can also create DIY treats and gifts for homeless animals or offer to walk your neighbors' dogs. Support military dogs through special foundations, use your talents to help pets in need, and spend more time playing with your pal.

There are countless opportunities to help pets, and with a bit of creativity, you can come up with even more thoughtful ideas. If you're looking for some inspiration on showing your gratitude, here are 16 ideas to spark your generosity.

16 Meaningful Ways to Give Back to Pets This Holiday

Whether helping pets you know in your neighborhood or reaching out to dogs overseas, it's easy to give back. Check out this list of different ideas to find the ones that are the best match for your giving style.

1. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

According to the ASPCA, shelters get roughly 6.3 million new animals annually. For shelters and rescues to keep operating at an optimal level, monetary concerns are always a priority. Volunteering helps keep things running and gives animals the care they need.

2. Donate to Your Favorite Pet Rescue

If time and other commitments keep you from volunteering, consider donating to your favorite rescue or shelter. You can use a site like Petfinder to find various rescues throughout the country.

3. Make Goody Bags for Neighborhood Pets

Put together some fun treat bags for the dogs and cats in your neighborhood. You can fill bags or pet dishes with tasty treats, small toys, and other fun items. Then pass them out to the neighborhood companions or leave them as a surprise on their porches.

4. Foster a Pet in Need

You can offer to foster animals so they have a comfortable and loving place to stay until finding their forever home. Many rescues get overwhelmed with pets, especially around the holiday season. People give a pet as a gift to someone who soon realizes they can’t handle a new addition. Fostering helps reduce the burden on shelters and also enriches your life.

5. Stock Your Car with Supplies to Help Homeless Pets

Load up on pet supplies and keep them on hand in your vehicle. As you drive around, when you see pets in need, give them some food, water, etc. Many people on the streets have an animal with them, and these pets can use some extra love.

6. Use Your Talents to Make a Difference in an Animal's Life

Do you have a knack for photography, art, crafting, or other talents that you can use to enrich a pet’s life? You can volunteer to take photos of shelter animals to help with adoptions. Create personalized portraits of animals that you can sell and donate the money to a local rescue. No matter what your talent, with imagination, you can turn it into a way to benefit animals.

7. Designate Extra Playtime with Your Pet

Sure, your dog or cat loves to get a new toy or chow down on the best food, but what they want more than anything is your attention. Set aside extra time each day as a designated play session with your furry friend and give them your undivided attention.

8. Honor a Military Dog

Make a donation or other gesture to help the thousands of retired and working dogs in the US Military. You can contact the US War Dog Association to find out how you can make a difference for these heroic pets.

9. Get Fit With Your Dog and Raise Money for Pets

Snap on your pup’s leash and go for a walk, and you can raise money for pets at the same time. ResQWalk is an easy-to-use app that lets you raise money for animal welfare by walking. Check it out today in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

10. Transfer Your Air Miles to Help Pets

Did you know there are organizations devoted to transporting pets in trouble? Good Flights is a part of Greater Good Charities and helps airlift pets in some of the most at-risk areas. You can transfer your air miles to groups like this to help them offset costs and continue their noble efforts.

11. Sponsor a Shelter Pet

If you love the idea of fostering a pet but don’t have room to do so, consider sponsoring a shelter pet. You can ensure that a specific dog or cat gets everything they need until they find their forever home.

12. Say Thank You to an Animal Shelter Worker

A big part of what keeps animal rescues and shelters going strong are the people that work in them. Say thank you and show appreciation for these important people by sending them something special. You could send a gift card or a thank you note, bring them lunch, or offer to help them with some of their daily tasks.

13. Help Reduce Pet Owner Costs by Donating to a Pet Food Bank

Many pets go into shelters because their owners can no longer afford their care. There are pet food banks that work similarly to human food banks. You can donate or volunteer to help reduce the cost of pet ownership for people who are struggling financially. This gives pets a better chance to stay with their families.

14. Bake Tasty Pet Treats for a Local Rescue

Do you love to bake? Turn your love for all things sweet and good into a way to bring some happiness to pets. Whip up some delicious DIY doggy treats or cat nips and bring them to a local shelter. You can also sell them locally to raise money for your favorite animal rescue.

15. Offer to Walk Your Neighbor's Dog

Offer to walk neighborhood dogs when their pet parents cannot do so because of health or work reasons. For example, if you know your neighbor is recovering from surgery, you can pick up their pooch for a daily stroll.

16. Adopt a Pet

The ultimate way to give back to pets this holiday is to adopt a dog or cat and give them a loving, forever home. But make sure you have the space (in your home and schedule) and the budget to do so.

Walking dog in snow

'Tis the Season of Giving Back to Pets

Giving to others is the best way to get in the holiday spirit and spread cheer. And choosing to give back to pets is the perfect way to show generosity, selflessness, and love.

Hopefully, this list has inspired you to do just that this holiday season. Check out the rest of our blog for plenty of other ways to make merry with your furry friends


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