Who doesn’t love a good donation drive? There’s nothing better than going to the store and shopping for someone other than yourself – especially when it’s puppies and kittens! Animal shelters have a unique set of needs and can always use donations.

Most shelters will have  a list of items that they need and accept. At JHS, we even have an Amazon wish list that makes donating even easier.  Why not host a donation drive at your school or office? Or just donate a few items on your own. They will always be put to good use.

Be sure to check with individual shelters to see if they have specific requests, but here’s a list of 10 items you probably never thought to donate to an animal shelter:

#1 Gloves – Whether it’s rubber gloves or latex gloves, protecting your hands and reducing the spread of germs is something that every animal center takes seriously. At JHS, we always need latex, non-powder gloves in all sizes.


#2 Ziploc Bags – Gallon, quart or sandwich sizes, ziploc bags can be used to send home food, litter and medication with foster parents. Next time you see a BOGO sale, throw in an extra box or two for the animals!


#3 Leashes – While many shelters have a specific leash used by employees and volunteers, new or gently used leashes can be used to help dogs who come in without a leash, families who need supplies, or dogs who go on sleepovers with potential adopters. At JHS, we can only accept cloth leashes with clips – we cannot use retractable leashes.


#4 Poop Bags & Trash Bags – You can’t live without ’em! Whether it’s cleaning up kennels or after dogs on walks, poop bags and trash bags are essential. At JHS, we always scoop the poop!


#5 Dish Soap – For any animal, a flea infestation can be deadly. However, many flea treatments and shampoos are too dangerous for infant, neo-natal dogs and cats. Dish soap, a non-concentrated variety without lotion, like Dawn, is a great alternative to flea shampoos. It stuns the fleas and makes it easy to remove them in a safe way.


#6 Treats – Some animal shelters have a preference, but you really can’t go wrong with moist treats. They are easy to break into smaller pieces and have a smelly scent that entices dogs! Our favorites at JHS include Pup-Peroni and Beggin’ Strips from Purina. We also break them into tiny pieces, mix with Peanut Butter and freeze the mixture inside Kong toys for dogs to enjoy each day.


#7 Office Supplies – Just like any other office, animal shelters use the basics like 8.5 x 11 copy paper, pens, staples, sticky notes and tape! While everyone has specifics, you probably can’t go wrong with copy paper and pens. Oh – and at JHS we go through a lot of glue sticks! Remember, donating these supplies that are less-likely-to-be-given can make a difference, too!


#8 Q-Tips and Cotton Balls – Most animal shelters will have a veterinary clinic, whether for the public or just for animals in the shelter. Q-Tips and cotton balls are common items used for veterinary practice and your shelter can put them to good use.


#9 Gift Cards – Just like the rest of us, animal shelters love gift cards. Be strategic when you purchase them and consider which stores are nearby. Whether it’s a store like Petco or PetsMart or a retailer like WalMart or Sams Club, there is going to be something for every shelter in the aisles. When in doubt – an Amazon gift card makes a great gift, too!


#10 Towels – Cleaning out your linen closet? Need an excuse to get a new set of bath towels? While not all bedding can be donated to animals shelters, towels of all sizes can be put to use. Be sure to wash them first and then drop them off to help dogs and cats in need.


And don’t forget – animals in need can always use your time and talent. Perhaps you can’t adopt a new pet or make a large donation. That’s okay! Your generosity is still needed. Volunteering and fostering are two excellent ways to help animals with the gift of time. No time? No problem? Consider raising funds with your business or even having a Facebook fundraiser on your birthday. There is never a gift that won’t make a difference.

At the Jacksonville Humane Society, we are so grateful for our generous community. They never cease to amaze us with their giving spirit. Here a few helpful links to check when donating supplies to our organization: