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How You Can Help Pets Affected By Hurricane Harvey

Posted 08.31.17 by Christine Taylor, DVM

In the midst of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, many animal shelters are providing refuge to homeless and displaced pets during disaster relief efforts. The need for supplies is tremendous, as these individuals work tirelessly to meet the basic needs of these pets during their stay. The SPCA of Texas and Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center, as well as the Animal Defense League of Texas both have wish lists, which is a very quick and easy way to donate supplies. Of course, you can also always make monetary donations to these organizations, as funding is always a concern.


Below is a list of items that are commonly requested:

  1. Canned and dry dog and cat food

All packages of food should be unopened, and should be delivered prior to their printed expiration date. These items can be purchased in bulk from wholesale stores.

  1. Clumping cat litter

Unscented cat litter would be best as some cats are very sensitive to scented litters. Again, this is an item that may be more cost effective if purchased in bulk from wholesale stores.

  1. Towels, blankets and dog beds

It is important to make sure that the towels do not have tattered or frayed edges, as this could encourage these animals to shred and potentially ingest the fabrics, which could lead to an intestinal blockage. Also – sheets, pillows, and filled comforters should also be avoided, as these items are commonly ingested as well.

  1. Old newspapers

Newspaper is commonly used for bedding, and can also be shredded to use for cat litter in situations where cats have recently had a surgical procedure.

  1. Cleaning supplies

Bleach, washing detergent for bedding, dish soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, unscented baby wipes, etc. are all very useful items.

  1. Collapsible kennels/exercise pens

Collapsible kennels are really useful because they transport easily, and are easy to clean. Airline kennels are also hepful.

  1. Feeding bowls and litter pans

Stainless steel bowls are best, as they are easiest to sterilize and are unlikely to be chewed. Low litter pans, as well as extra large litter pans, are also very helpful. These items should be unused.

  1. Dog and cat treats

Treats can be used for positive reinforcement in pets that require treatments or medical care. Greenie’s pill pockets are really useful when pets are on chronic medications. These items should be unopened, and should be delivered prior to their printed expiration date.

  1. Cat scratchers/scratching posts

The cardboard disposable scratching posts are probably the most useful, as they can be discarded after use to avoid potential transmission of disease when shared among cats. Scratching is a very normal behavior for cats, and is important to their overall health. Cats that are displaced from their homes are typically very frightened and stressed, so providing them with items of comfort can be very important in keeping them healthy.

  1. Indestructable dog toys, such as Kongs

These items should be unused and clean.

  1. Your time

These rescues and animal shelters are desperate for volunteers, as caring for this large population of displaced pets is a full-

time job. If you can volunteer your time to help, you can make a very large impact on the relief effort.



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