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11 Holiday Gifts Shelter Pets Are Wishing For

Animals without homes for the holidays have still been good boys and girls. Giving them toys will give you all the feels.

by Lindsay Hamrick, CPDT-KA
Updated December 15, 2022
shelter kittens playing with a round blue plastic toy with balls
Courtesy of Stray Cat Alliance

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There isn’t a more worthy recipient for holiday gifting than your local animal shelter. The cats and dogs who haven’t found homes yet this year are most deserving (and most appreciative) of new toys and treats. While non-profit animal organizations always need monetary donations to help animals, you should check with your local shelter to ensure they’re getting the support they need during the busy holiday season. Be sure to ask if they have any specific needs for products that you can either purchase or donate. Here are some ideas to add to your list.

1. Puzzle Toys

blue cat toy with balls

Interactive cat toys, like this track toy, have been known to keep kitties so engaged that they help resolve litter box avoidance issues, cut down on overgrooming, curb anxiety, and keep their diet in check. It’s important to pay attention to the challenge level, though. So donate an easy, level 1 toy to shelter cats to avoid adding to their stress, aka let them win.

$11 at Amazon

2. Hidey Beds

3. Kitten Bottles & Milk Replacers

4. Orthopedic Beds

5. Pee Pads

6. High-Quality Leashes & Martingale Collars

7. Cleaning Supplies

8. Pet Food

9. Human Food

a person with a dog
New Africa / Adobe Stock

Shelter staff and volunteers work 365 days a year to be a safety net for pets in your community. This holiday season, consider catering a lunch or dropping off cupcakes to show your gratitude. 

10. The Gift of Your Time!

a person with a dog
kegfire / Adobe Stock

Add “volunteer for your local shelter” to your New Year’s resolutions list or simply offer to bring a shelter dog home for a foster weekend. Every organization is looking for help in many forms.

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Lindsay Hamrick, CPDT-KA

Lindsay Hamrick lives in New Hampshire with her three dogs, chickens, and an assortment of rotating foster animals. She forces her elderly chihuahua, Grandma Baguette, on overnight backpacking trips, can diaper a lamb with one hand, and while she’s a long-time Certified Professional Dog Trainer, 66.7% of her dogs still won’t lay down when asked.