If you are a dog-lover who just can’t take on a new dog right now, you don’t have to feel that shelter-induced guilt. It’s true, there are plenty of dogs who could use forever homes, but you don’t need to adopt one to make a difference. Here are five ways to help shelter dogs even when adoption is not possible for you.

1. Donate Money

Kibble for shelter dogs is not cheap. What most shelters need beyond willing adoptees is cash that they can use to pay for the dog’s food, medical expenses, and much more. While shelters typically do charge a fee for adoption, they typically do not charge all of the money they have shelled out for the dog. If they did, adopting might be out of the reach of some good owner’s means. Or, it might just be much less popular than buying a puppy. Every shelter could use extra money to buy the supplies they need.

2. Donate Supplies

If you have a connection to help a shelter get supplies that they need for less or for free, consider using it to help them out. Be sure to check in with your local shelter to see what they need. Or, consider if you have a way to get your shelter any of these common supplies:

  • Pet food
  • Pet accessories
  • Newspapers for bedding
  • Cleaning sprays, cloths, and other supplies
  • Laundry detergent

One-time donations are also often appreciated by shelters. A common practice is to donate your last bag of food if you have a dog that passes away. Losing a pet is sad but the gesture nice way to honor your dog.

3. Volunteering

Using some of your free time to help out the shelter animals is also a great idea. However, don’t expect anything too glamourous. Most shelters need people to clean out cages and transport animals more than they need someone to play with the puppies. Although, many shelters need more hands walking the dogs. Even if you commit to walking one dog once a week, that can be a big help. Reach out to your local shelter to find out what they need.

4. Interact with them Online

Shelters have taken to social media to promote themselves and try to spread the word when they have animals for adoption. It can be hard for shelters to reach a wide enough audience to find enough adoptive parents. And they have to compete with breeders. Going online and interacting with your local shelter, whether sharing their posts or liking them, can be a big help.

5. Fostering

Some people who can’t adopt a dog can still foster one. Fostering is a shorter-term commitment that works better with some people’s lifestyles. Fostering a dog can free up vital space in the shelter without signing you up for a decade-long commitment if you might have to start a job or change your lifestyle such that a dog would no longer be a good fit.