Ready to Donate Bedding to Your Local Animal Shelter?
The Do’s and Don’ts 

Submitted by: Samantha Kent is a researcher for Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.


As much as you love their adorable faces, you can’t bring every dog or cat home from the shelter. Your home (and sanity) won’t make it. That doesn’t mean you can’t help them or the efforts of those who work at the shelter. Donations of bedding and more can cut down on operation costs so that every animal can find its way to a forever home.


1. Towels
When isn’t there a use for a good towel? Towels may not be your bedding, but they make excellent bedding for cats and small dogs. If they’re not used as bedding, they make excellent cleaning rags for wiping everything down from accidents to water bowls.

2. Blankets
You may need medical equipment and the perfect pillow to sleep well, but animals don’t need much more than a blanket. Blankets of all shapes and sizes can find a use at a shelter. Fleece blankets, in particular, make excellent bedding because they are soft and warm. Comfortable bedding also gives an animal a small space that feels like home.

3. Heating Pads
If you’re ready for an upgrade, a heating pad is a welcome addition to any shelter. Newborns of all species need extra warmth, and if they’ve been separated from their mother, it can be hard to regulate their body temperature.

4. Gently Used Pet Bedding
If your pet’s bed still has life left in it, that means no holes or major stains, it can make a welcome addition. Large or small, it doesn’t matter. Shelter animals come in all shapes and sizes.

5. Much More Than Bedding
OK, this list is supposed to be for bedding but shelters can use many more household items, such as:

• Used pet accessories: Collars, leashes, even used pet clothing can find a good use.

• Pet food: This one is pretty obvious. Hungry bellies need food!

• Kitty litter and litter boxes: As you can imagine, shelters go through huge amounts of kitty litter. Even a bag or two can take the pressure off of a tight budget.

• Old newspaper: Think of donating your newspaper to a shelter as upcycling.
Newspapers line the bottoms of crates and cages. They get dirty in a hurry, so it’s hard to have enough.

• Toys: Used or new, animals love toys to stimulate their brain just like people do. As long as there aren’t any small parts that could be swallowed, a toy is a welcome donation.

• Office supplies: Office supplies take a good portion of a shelter’s budget that could be going directly to the animals.





While most shelters are willing to accept any support through donation, there are a few things you should take elsewhere.

1. Mattresses
They’re simply too big and bulky to be used effectively in most shelters.

2. Any Items with the Filling Coming Out
Dogs and cats are willing to chew on almost anything. Any kind of filling, whether it comes from a stuffed toy or a dog bed, doesn’t belong in a shelter.

3. Plastic Bags with Holes
Plastic bags without holes are great. They can be used to remove waste both inside and outside the shelter. But, put a hole in that bag and it’s useless and messy. If you donate plastic bags, make sure they’re all in one piece.