5 Ways You Can Help End Pet Homelessness


5 Ways You Can Help End Pet Homelessness

Everyone can make a difference

Jennifer Greenwood
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Toronto humane society volunteer holding catMany pet lovers know that overpopulation is the greatest challenge facing pets in Canada. At least 150,000 pets enter Canadian shelters every year. No matter how many times we read the numbers, it’s hard to think about all those pets who don’t have homes.

But together, we can solve the problem of pet overpopulation. We’re working hard to help pets who end up in shelters find forever homes. You can help us make an even bigger impact. Here’s how:

1. Adopt a best friend

The easiest, most accessible way to end pet homelessness is by adopting a pet. With so many healthy, adoptable pets in shelters, choosing to give a pet a home has an immediate impact on the pet, the shelter and you.

You might have a meant-to-be moment, like Ben and Rebecca did with Rita, an adventurous feline. You could end up like Devon and Leo, who found their new best friend Poppa at an adoption event. Perhaps you’ll decide to give a senior pet a home, as the Armata family did when they adopted Tyra

Shelter pets are healthy pets! Pets who are available for adoption have been examined by veterinary and behavioural experts. Most are spayed or neutered before you adopt them, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling the surgery. It’s one of many reasons that adopting is less expensive than purchasing a pet.

New pet parents often tell us how simple and straightforward their adoption experience was. If you don’t know much about adoption, you can learn right now. And when you do meet your match, shelter staff will help guide you through the process.

When you adopt, you save a life and enrich your own. Are you ready to find your new best friend? Find adoptable pets near you.

2. Foster a pet

Space is one of the most limited resources in shelters — there simply isn’t enough room to hold all the homeless pets. Sometimes all they need is a little time and love.

You can save a life by helping to free up space in a shelter by fostering a pet. As a foster parent, you care for her while she grows, or recovers from illness or surgery.

Want to do more? Put an extra room (even a spare bathroom) to better use. You can save a whole family by fostering a mother cat and her babies. By giving the kittens a safe place to grow with their mom and keep them safe from illness while they get stronger, you’re giving all of them a second chance. Best of all, when you bring the family back to the shelter, they'll be the cats most likely to be adopted.

When it comes to working toward ending pet homelessness, fostering a cat family is the biggest "bang for your buck" — and the shelter's buck, too. Adoptable kittens usually bring the highest adoption fee for the shelter.

Woman holding adoptable dog3. Spay or neuter your pet

You can have a direct impact on the number of homeless pets by targeting the overpopulation problem at its source. Prevent unplanned births — and countless more pets who will need homes — by spaying or neutering your pet.

Pets can get pregnant as young as 4 months old. But research shows that cats and dogs can be spayed or neutered safely at 5 months of age. If you’re a pet parent, don’t wait to have your pet spayed or neutered.

Nearly all pets available for adoption through PetSmart Charities™ of Canada Adoption Centres are already spayed or neutered. If your pet isn’t altered yet, find an affordable spay/neuter clinic in your area.

4. Volunteer

If adopting or fostering aren’t options for you right now, you can still work toward reducing pet homelessness. Sharing your time with homeless pets is rewarding and fun — for you and the pets!

Check out volunteer opportunities in your community. If you're a dog person, you may be able to take the dogs out for walks. Shelter cats can always use interaction and playtime. Pets in shelters often need such "socializing" — it helps them get used to people and new situations, especially while they’re between homes. You can help them grow comfortable being touched and groomed.

Volunteering your time and attention can help a pet become more adoptable. After spending time with the pets, your comments can give shelter staff and potential adopters insight about a pet's personality. And the more everyone knows about a pet, the more likely they'll be able to match him with the right family for him.

5. Donate today

Want to make a difference right now? Help PetSmart Charities of Canada end pet homelessness by donating. More than 90 cents of every dollar spent goes to help pets in need.  


PetSmart Charities of Canada finds homes for nearly 20,000 cats and dogs each year. The newest member of your family could be just a click away.