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Top Rated Pet Charities for 2018

top rated pet charities

Is the welfare of animals near and dear to your heart? If so, you’d be deeply saddened to know that The Humane Society estimates that 2.4 million healthy pets are euthanized every year in the United States due to overpopulation.

Luckily, there are some great charities and pet shelters operating around the country that are working towards saving more pets every year and improving the lives on animals.

Here’s a list of the best ways you can help dogs and cats, along with the best pet charities for 2018 that will put your money to work saving pets lives!

pet shelter cat charity

Support Your Local Shelter

There are over 13,000 animal shelters in the United States, with over 7 million pets entering into them every year. These shelters are almost entirely non profits that rely on volunteers, adoption fees, and donations in order to keep their doors open and operating.

Often it’s easiest to make the biggest impact when you start local. You’ll also get the added benefit of seeing a direct impact that you’re making, whereas donating to a nationwide charity won’t give you an immediate effect.

The best ways to help your local shelter is by doing one of the following 3 things –

  1. Adopt a pet! If you’re like us, you’d adopt every pet at the shelter if you could! We know that everyone has their limits and you don’t want to take on more than you can handle, but if you have room in your home for another pet, it would certainly help your shelter free up room to save another pet.
  2. Volunteer! Just about every shelter is in need of volunteers to do everything from answer the phone, clean the pets living quarters, walk dogs, and more. If you can give time, it will make everything run better at the shelter.
  3. Donate! Look up how to donate to your local shelter, this information can usually be found on their website or by calling them. Most shelters are non-profits, so you can get a tax break for your donation. Some shelters may also accept goods such as food, blankets, or even toys such as dog ball launchers to keep the dogs occupied!

walking dogs charity

Top Rated Pet Charities 2018

To determine which charities would make the list of our best charities for pets, we used the following criteria –

  • Programs focused largely on cats and dogs.
  • Programs with a large, nationwide reach.
  • Excellent ratings from charity watchdog groups, Charity Navigator and Charity Watch.
  • Reasonable President/Executive compensation.

Charity Navigator rates on a “out of 100” scale, whereas Charity Watch uses a letter grade system (F to A+).

Here’s a list of the top rated charities in the United States that focus on the welfare of pets.

Animal Friends

Charity Navigator Rating – 94.54

Charity Watch – N/A

Executive Director Compensation – $138,102

Animal Friends is near and dear to my our hearts because this is where we rescued one of our dogs from and the experience was exemplary for what a dog rescue shelter should be. Animal Friends takes pet adoption very seriously, as they should since adding a new pet to the home should be a lifelong commitment. If you have other pets in the home, they require the two pets to meet before they can be adopted out as to avoid any potential conflicts that would lead to the pet returning to a shelter.

We found the staff to be very knowledgeable to matching us with a dog that fits our needs as well, and overall they cared a lot about getting the best outcome for everyone involved.

Here’s a glamour shot of our adopted girl!



PetSmart Charities

petsmart charities

Charity Navigator Rating – 94.20

Charity Watch – A+

Executive Director Compensation – not compensated

PetSmart Charities focuses exclusively on ending pet homelessness in the United States. The achieve this through adopting pets out of their PetSmart locations and funding spay/neuter programs.

If your biggest goal in your donation is to end pet homelessness, then PetSmart Charities is the most direct way to fund that specific goal.



redrover charity

Charity Navigator Rating – 96.93

Charity Watch – B+

President Compensation – $115,370

RedRover is best described as a charity there to help pets and owners in times of crisis. Their RedRover Responders program shelters and cares for animals displaced by events like natural disasters, criminal seizures, and hoarding cases.

They also have a RedRover Relief program with provides financial help and resources for pets when their owners are going through economic hardship.


Animal Welfare Institute

animal welfare institute

Charity Navigator Rating – 92.92

Charity Watch – A+

President Compensation – $100,356

The Animal Welfare Institute has a lot of great programs aimed at helping dogs and cats including preventing pets from being used in research facilities, educating and legislating to prevent dogs from being chained up outside all of their lives, banning steel traps which pets can wander into, ending the dog meat trade, and ending puppy mills.

With so many great programs and an excellent charity rating, Animal Welfare Institute is sure to put your donation to good use.


Alley Cat Allies


alley cat allies logo

Charity Navigator Rating – 93.89

Charity Watch – N/A

President Compensation – $172,913

Alley Cat Allies is a charity focused around improving the lives of all cats, indoors and outdoors. Some of their policies include an advocacy program that believes cats are better off to live outside without a permanent home than be brought in a shelter to be put down. They do advocate a trap-neuter-return program which lets cats continue to live outdoors without exploding the homeless population.

They have many other programs all focused on improving the lives of cats including spay/neuter programs, disaster response, and anti-cruelty. If you hold cats near and dear to your heart, this is a great charity to support that cause directly.


Friends of Animals

friends of animals

Charity Navigator Rating – 87.10

Charity Watch – A

President Compensation – $109,186

Friends of Animals was founded in 1957 and works towards ending the exploitation of animals. One of their biggest programs is their spay/neuter program which partners with 700 veterinarians across 34 states. Through this program, they have done over 2.5 million procedures to help combat pet overpopulation!

Friends of Animals also works to expose and bring an end to puppy mills which exploit pets for money making purposes.


Any Way You Can Help…

There are over 80 million pet owners in the United States! If we all chip in and do our part to improve the welfare of pets in our wonderful country, we can make an enormous effect on the welfare of pets.

Regardless of which charity you decide to donate to or volunteer for, you can proudly do so knowing that you’re making a direct and positive impact on the lives of all pets, present and future.


12 thoughts on “Top Rated Pet Charities for 2018

  1. Every single top charity you listed, with the exception of pets mart, is directed by a greedy human compensated with well over $100,000/pa That’s ludicrous money and clearly shows where most of the monies donated goes! If it’s the grading organizations that need to change then advocate for that, but that’s an absolutely ridiculous salary when the average salary of an American charity director is $55,000! Yours listed are making twice that! No way am I trusting any of your list! Shame on you! Shame on these charities!

    1. Hi Stacy,
      According to the required forms non-profits must file yearly, the median CEO salary for non-profits is $123,462 which is right in line with these directors.

      The charities listed have annual revenues of $3 – 50 million, if these executives worked in the for-profit sector they would easily double their salaries or more. They certainly make more than the average American, but they also take on a lot more responsibility and pressure managing such large organizations.

    2. Stacy, I am making close to $80k with nothing but a bachelors and a few years learning a particular in-demand skill. $100k is pennies for a director, especially a competent one at that. Please stick to helping rather than shaming as it only exposes you as moralizer with nothing better to contribute than your own judgment and opinion. If you haven’t noticed such types are a dime a dozen in our current society.

      Thank you for your list Woof Whiskers! It has helped me determine where to send my monthly donation.

  2. Interested in organizations that could find homes for my pets in case something happens to me. I live in Las Vegas, NV.
    Thank you,
    Hope Carson

  3. I am trying to donate to a charity for animals, do you have any non-killing charities? I’m trying to make a diffrance, I hope you will help me! Thank you!

    — STAR

  4. I must agree with the person who commented on what the CEO’s of these charities make, except Pet Smart, which is definitely one I will donate to. They should be focused on the animals, not getting rich from donations.

  5. There are so many stray animals around my neighborhood, and it makes me feel so bad! Lately I have been trying to think of ways I can help these animals, and ALL animals. I love how PetSmart Charities focus on ending homelessness for animals in the United States! Seeing that all animals have homes is so important to me. I also want animals to have food, water, love, and essential things like leashes, collars, and toys. I want to look into getting collars for all animals so that they know they are owned and loved.

  6. I agree with Stacy, to “earn” over $100k to sit behind a desk, pushing papers and telling people what to do is ridiculous!!!
    The folks out in the field getting their hands dirty, their hearts broken seeing the abhorrent conditions are doing the real work and they do it out of LOVE not $$$!!

    1. You ignorant child. you have no idea — none — how these charities work. Successful charities like each of these, scoring so highly on the integrity scale, require every single staff person to “get their hands dirty.” I guarantee you that each of the presidents you denigrate work longer hours each week than you do in a month. These are all talented, highly skilled people do valuable work that you couldn’t begin to understand. They have to raise money which is a complicated task, they have to manage paid and volunteer staff, they have to set the goals for the organization and keep it on track, they have to make sure all the bills are paid or no one of the staff who along with the president do all the hard work that you claim to value (or do you?) will get paid. And thus the work won’t get done and the lives of dogs and cats won’t be saved, and new families won’t be brought together, and animals will suffer. How’d you like to live with that burden? It’s as hard as running a business, with all the risks and unknowns, except that animals’ lives depend on them! Besides, these days, $100,000 is truly not as much money as you think, especially since these folks often have to live in places where the cost of living is higher than it is where your double wide is located.

  7. I AM sitting here,,,,,,,,,,,looking for several days now where to donate my effort,I have no family so my choice are the animals,,,,,,its been harder than ever,,,I USED TO HAVE ASPCA withdraw every month but I started questinning several things the ceo makes more than500 thousand as we as the ceo of humane society,,using the suffering of the no voice makes me feel like vomiting, NOW I CHECK FIRST sad that the coincidence is with the greedy community, from me 0 they stole too much from the animals and from me, the greed their creed

  8. I have twin boys turning 8 this month. We are having a large party and in lieu of gifts for the boys we are requesting supplies that can be donated to local shelters/rescues. I really want to find a (or a few) rescues or shelters that could really use our donations (of course I understand all shelters want and need donations)and am struggling on how to figure this out. Looking for assistance. Thank you so much.

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