The holidays are a time for giving. If you are a pet lover like me, a great place to give would be your local animal shelter. One of the best ways to give is to volunteer your time and help directly. It can be very rewarding especially if you love animals. Donating items that the shelter needs can be a huge help also if you don't have a lot of extra time. Here is a small list of things that almost all animals shelters need help with.

1-Food, food, food, and lots of it! They need both cat and dog food, both wet and dry. Animals eat a lot and so food is definitely their number one priority. Make sure to contact the shelter you want to donate for exact specifications. Food also includes water, so bringing a few jugs of spring water with food would be great!

2-Puppy and dog chew toys! Dogs are kept in cages and need something to do or they'll go crazy. Chew toys are perfect but they wear out pretty quick so they need a steady stream of chew toys to keep up with demand. Kongs are the best in my experience because they last the longest.

3-Medical supplies. you probably want to contact the shelter once again before you start buying supplies because each will have it's own needs but here is a place to start. Flea, tick, and heart worm preventive medication is something they will need. They might also need latex and powder free gloves and disposable gowns for the vet and health visits.

4-Kennel supplies. Just about anything that you would need to keep your pet in a kennel they would need. Blankets and bowls are needed as well as the kennels themselves. Also trash bags and towels for cleanup or maybe kitty litter and puppy pads. There are an endless line of ideas here, just think a little bit.

5-Gift cards. Just about anything and everything a shelter needs can be provided with money, but where are the best places to get gift cards. I find that anyplace that has good products for a good price would work. Some ideas are Walmart, Target, PetSmart, Petco, Home Depot, and Walgreens.