When it comes to animals, there isn’t a dog lover alive who doesn’t want to help dogs. But as much as we want to, we can’t save every animal by ourselves – it takes a committed community to help shelter pets, and oftentimes financial restraints or personal challenges can get in the way.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to help shelter pets beyond donations. Today we’re looking at a few creative ways you can help shelter pets.

5 Ways to Help Shelter Pets

Read a Book

Just as dogs and cats can help decrease our stress, we can help decrease theirs. By simply reading a book aloud near the kennel to an animal, we can help alleviate their stress and provide some calm to a pet. This is especially important for dogs who are exhibiting stress. Socialization is one of the most important ways you can help pets in shelters.

Walk a Dog

Play time and walks are more important than just about any other factor for shelter pets. Not only does it set them up to learn manners, thereby increasing their chance of adoption, it helps decrease their stress and it gets them out of the kennel for a bit. Dogs take in a lot of information through their nose and it’s important to let them sniff something other than stressed out animals.

Take a Hike

If your shelter allows it, consider organizing a play day each week with a local running, biking or hiking group. Hiking is much more fun with a group of people and dogs! Big dogs in particular need this time outdoors to keep their minds intact and stress aggression low. Only choose experienced volunteers and do your best to rotate handlers with dogs each week. It’s a great way for shelter dogs (and you) to soak up that Vitamin D!

Find a Play Area

If a dog isn’t allowed on leash for walks, bring them a to a play area. Most reputable shelters have a location that is specifically for this play. If a dog gets along with others, they are able to play together. If not, they should have time to play in an area with you. Ask the shelter for recommendations.

Tip: Shelter pets are not often allowed to have toys or treats in their kennels, so be sure to ask about rules for bringing pet supplies.


Perhaps the MOST important thing you can do to help shelter pets is to foster them. This means that you would bring a pet (or pets) into your home, assist with care (especially for very young or medically-challenged animals), and provide them socialization to prepare them for the very best forever home.

Not only is this a great way to help a pet, it’s ideal for people who love animals, but can’t commit to the lifetime care of a pet right now.

In order to prepare for the very important job of fostering, you may need to attend an orientation or learn how to care for very young orphaned animals. These are usually provided by the shelter or rescue group. In most cases, the rescue will cover any costs associated with a pet’s recovery, but you may need to provide transportation to medical appointments or adoption events.

No matter what you feel capable of doing to help, please help. Thousands of animals are put down every day in the world, and it’s up to us to make a difference. After all, it takes a community to save a pet!

Hey Shelter and Rescue Operators, and Organizations, ask us how playing DOGTV in your facility will help to calm dogs and alleviate their stress while they’re waiting for their forever homes. Also, grab your free fourteen day trial of DOGTV to play at the shelter.