Homelessness in America not only affects people, but it also affects pets. Did you know that only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home? Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes.1

Those statistics provide only a glimpse of America’s homeless animal population. Homeless animals need just as much love and attention as their fellow mammals – humans. So what are some practical ways you can help animals avoid the ill fate of homelessness?

We’ve compiled a thoughtful list of creative ways for you to make a difference in a homeless animal’s life, starting this week!

Raise Money for Your Local Animal Shelter or Rescue Organization

Get in shape for a great cause by organizing a Run or Walk-a-thon to help raise money for overpopulated shelters and rescue organizations in your neighborhood. Hold it at your school or community track or athletic fields and have participants find sponsors to donate a certain amount of money per mile covered.3 Since most shelters and rescue organizations typically rely on donations to keep their doors open, they are always needed!

Visit Local Grocery Stores

Ever walk down an aisle in the grocery store to find ripped bags of pet food? These ripped bags of pet food can be donated to your local animal shelter. Contact your local grocer or pet supply store and ask if they would be willing to donate ripped bags of pet food which you can then collect monthly to deliver to shelters in the area.3

Groom & Train Shelter Animals

There’s an old adage – don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, we like to say – don’t judge an animal by its furry coat. When people visit shelters to adopt an animal, most observe the animal’s temperament and appearance, and manners before deciding whether or not to take Fido or Fluffy home. Due to the majority of shelters being overpopulated, shelter workers cannot maintain the proper grooming and bathing needed to help these beautiful animals look their best. A well-groomed pet is far more likely to be adopted than his grubby counterpart.4 By the same token, training gives a dog a much better chance of finding a home.4 Contact local shelters this week to find out how you can volunteer to help bathe and groom these furry friends as well as train them on basic commands, so they can truly put their best paw forward!

Shower Shelter Pets with Love

Imagine living in a cramped, noisy environment for the majority of your day – it would probably stress you out. Well, animals are no different. As they often only go outside for bathroom breaks, cats and dogs receive little attention and love as the shelter workers are busy caring for their basic needs. Volunteer to pet and comfort dogs and cats in the shelter. A little love and individual attention go a long way.4

Spay & Neuter

One means of managing the pet population is for pets to be spayed or neutered. Often times, pets are forced to breed for a number of reasons, usually for profit. Find a low-cost spay-neuter program near you and distribute their flyers in low-income neighborhoods. Often, folks simply aren’t aware of programs that can help them.4

Foster a Pet

When you open your home as a foster pet parent, you help a pet’s chances in going to a forever home. Help shelters and rescues make room for new pets by inviting a homeless cat or dog to stay with you for a few days or weeks and help them get adopted.4

Adopt a Pet

Adopting a cat or dog is a great way to help prevent homelessness. And what better way to welcome a new pet than handing out a wonderful gift! A goodie box or starter kit is just what your new friend needs to settle into a new home. When you adopt a pet, you are not only saving an animal from potential euthanization or homelessness, you are enhancing your quality of life. Pets love us unconditionally and often teach us a thing or two about life. In fact, there is ongoing research from HABRI about the human-animal bond. Pets are always “on tap” with their unconditional love and are a wonderful cure for loneliness. In fact, doctors frequently recommend pets to patients who feel lonely.5

Homeless animals are one of the major problems in America today, yet it is so easy to avoid this problem! Remember to please get your pets spayed or neutered and try to adopt your new pet whenever possible.

For more information on animal homelessness, and to find out how you can participate in The International Homeless Animals Day celebration, check out the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR).


1. “11 Facts About Animal Homelessness”


2. “Help Homeless Pets: Hold a Fundraiser”


3. “50 Ways You Can Help Homeless Pets”


4. “10 Ways To Help Homeless Pets”


5. “Depression”


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