During the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning supplies are at the top of the list.
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Animal shelters and rescues are always in need of donations, and it's no secret as to why: Every year, more and more animals end up in their care. According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million pets are admitted to shelters annually. No-kill shelters have expenses that they need to meet in order to provide for and rescue as many of these animals as possible. "We are a no time limit, no kill rescue. We specialize in rescuing those in imminent danger of being killed or euthanized due to space or health issues," says Tanya Jonda, marketing director for One of a Kind Pet Rescue in Akron, Ohio. "Donations are a wonderful way to support, as rescues do not receive government funding and are reliant on the donations of their supporters."

shelter dog
Credit: Getty Images / M_a_y_a

What items can you donate that animal shelters and rescues actually want and need most? We asked Jonda to share items that are often most in demand, but you can always contact your local rescue to find out if they have specific needs right now. By providing assistance to these no-kill shelters and rescues, you are helping to save more animals and bring them closer to finding their forever homes.

Cleaning Supplies

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, animal rescues always needed cleaning supplies. "One of the most important aspects of rescue work is cleanliness and the prevention of contamination. Pets are often rescued from uncertain and unhealthy situations that involve sickness, disease, and parasites," Jonda says. "We go through a tremendous amount of paper towels, disinfectant wipes, bleach, antibacterial cleaner, towels, and laundry soap." Your local shelter may prefer a particular brand of cleaner or have more need of paper towels and sanitizers. Ask them which cleaning supplies that they need the most of and how you can donate these items to your shelter.

Seasonal Supplies

In addition to the everyday needs, rescues will have different needs depending on the season. Colder temperatures mean that animals need to be able to stay warm. Blankets, as well as dog coats and sweaters, are needed during the winter months. "We use space heaters periodically in drafty areas and heating pads for newborn puppies and kittens, especially those that have been orphaned," she explains. What do rescues need the most in the summer months? "Summer brings kitten season which places us in need of kitten milk replacement (KMR) as that is what we feed our orphaned bottle babies."

Your Time and Presence

You also don't only need to limit donations to financial donations or material items. "We feel that pet homelessness is a community problem and can be addressed by the entire community. Adopting a homeless pet is best, as it opens the door for another to be rescued," Jonda says. "If a long-term commitment is not possible, fostering is very helpful, as it provides temporary shelter until we are able to fully vet the animal and place it for adoption." Volunteering during the pandemic may be limited but it is still needed. Kittens and puppies, for example, need to be socialized for future adoption.

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