Wish List Donations For Dogs & Cats In Animal Shelters: What Non-Profits REALLY Need

Love dogs?

Want to do something — even if it’s small — to help abandoned animals and pet care facilities in your area?

See what’s on your local animal care center’s Wish List this holiday season…


It would be easy to assume that the costs of adopting a dog from a registered non-profit, 501(c), would be deductible – the assumption would be wrong. The cost to adopt a dog is not deductible. However, any donations made in excess of regular adoption fees most certainly are. According to the law, only those donations made where no goods or services are received in exchange (i.e., your new dog) can be deducted. Should you choose to make donations to your favorite 501c dog charity, make sure to ask for a letter of receipt that states no goods or services were received. Donations of both goods and services to an approved charity are tax deductible. When donating goods or services to an approved charity, ask for a donation receipt – you’ll need it if the value of your donations exceeds $250. To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Source


By donating a few items to your local animal shelter (or your favorite veterinarian’s office), you’ll be making a huge difference. And you’ll feel GREAT about doing it.

The best part: No one will judge you for the type, quantity, or value of items that you choose to drop off at the animal shelter.

Most animal care facilities are in need of so many basic necessities just to keep the place running, that they would be thrilled to receive just about anything that’s dog or cat related!

Wondering what’s on the animal shelter wish list this holiday season?

Actually, it doesn’t even have to be holiday time…

These are some of the items that my local animal shelter (and most other animal care centers) appreciate year-round.

TIP: If you order items online — like from Amazon — you can have them shipped directly to the animal care facility!

Donations For Dogs & Cats:

tenor and his rope toy

  • Dog food and cat food – unopened bags & cans
  • Dog crates – all sizes
  • Cat carriers
  • Dog beds/pillows (new or gently used)
  • Cat litter (some use more than 300 lbs each week!)
  • Stuffed dog toys (washable rubber or plastic ones are best)
  • Chew toys for dogs (Kongs are ideal)
  • Blankets, towels, comforters (new or gently used)
  • Sheets & towels – all sizes
  • Bowls – all sizes (plastic or metal)
  • Toilet seat covers (cats love to rest on them!)
  • Large jars of peanut butter
  • Large chew bones (my dog tires of them after a few weeks, but they’re “like new” to other dogs!)
  • Used leashes & dog collars
  • Dog shampoo
  • Tennis balls

Donations For The Facility:

elana, teresa, and dr. heather bowling at destin's 2nd vet appt

  • Laundry detergent
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Bleach, bleach, and more bleach (some use up to 10 gallons a week!)
  • Clorox and Windex wipes (I’m sure just about any brand of wet wipes would work)
  • Brooms (bleachable)
  • Metal dustpans
  • Postage stamps
  • AA and AAA batteries
  • Large garbage bags
  • Ink pens & sticky-note pads
  • A working washer/dryer (used is fine… if you get a new one)
  • A variety of health care & medical products
  • Latex disposable gloves (size large)
  • Gift certificates to feed stores, pet stores, pet grooming, or office supply stores

And don’t forget…

You can always give the gift of your time and expertise as a volunteer or a dog foster parent!

Here are 25 creative ways to help animal shelters and 7 surprising ways to donate to your local animal shelter.



See What Other Animal Shelters Have On Their Wishlist