9 Best Charities for Helping Dogs in Need (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for Helping Dogs in Need (Complete 2022 List)

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Carla Shaik

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Dogs are affectionately referred to as man’s best friends. Yet, around 3.3 million dogs are handed into shelters every year in America alone. Even dogs that are well cared for, are susceptible to developing debilitating diseases. In fact, 1 in every 4 dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime. Charities around the world are working tirelessly to end the suffering of our canine companions. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for helping dogs in need?

The best charities for helping dogs in need are the Morris Animal Foundation and the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. Charities such as the Grey Muzzle Organization and the United States War Dogs Association do incredible work supporting elderly or retired dogs. 

Whether you want to ensure every dog finds a loving forever home or invest in research to cure canine diseases, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for helping dogs in need are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Helping Dogs in Need Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to Asia, striving to improve the welfare of our canine companions.

Many of the charities on this list focus their efforts on rescuing vulnerable dogs from abusive or harmful environments. Others focus their attention on funding scientific research to find cures for the most prevalent and deadly canine diseases. Yet they all share the same goal – to ensure every dog receives the love and care it deserves. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Helping Dogs in Need

Below are our favorite charities for helping dogs:

  • Morris Animal Foundation
  • American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation
  • The Grey Muzzle Organization
  • Best Friends Animal Society
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Soi Dog Foundation
  • The National Canine Cancer Foundation
  • Jameson Humane
  • United States War Dogs Association

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Morris Animal Foundation: Advancing Companion Animal Health

The Morris Animal Foundation was founded in 1948 by veterinarian Mark L. Morris after he identified the cause behind the high number of dogs developing kidney disease (low-quality canned food). Today, the charity is a global leader in supporting research that benefits all animal health, including dogs. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Morris Animal Foundation holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Bridging science and resources to advance the health of animals.”

Morris Animal Foundation

What they do: The Morris Animal Foundation is committed to fighting animal disease worldwide (including dogs) by investing in science that will help us to develop more efficient diagnostic methods and treatments. They also run a Veterinary Student Scholarship Program that provides students with the opportunity to conduct mentored research on a range of species including dogs, horses, cats, and wildlife. In addition, the charity provides free memorials to families who have lost their beloved pets. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Morris Animal Foundation has invested over $49 million into more than 1,090 canine health studies. This research has contributed to the parvovirus vaccine, as well as the genetic tests for seizure disorders, eye disease, and heart disease. To date, the work of the charity has helped an estimated 63.4 million dogs in America. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Morris Animal Foundation through their website. You can also make tribute donations to the charity by purchasing items from their online store.  

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Prevent, Treat, and Cure

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation was established in 1995 by the American Kennel Club to invest in research that benefits the health of companion dogs. Since then, the charity has grown to become the largest non-profit funder solely dedicated to canine health research.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs and their owners by funding scientific research.”

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation

What they do: The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation provides health research grants to improve our understanding of canine diseases in order to formulate better treatments. They also provide comprehensive online resource libraries for veterinarians and dog breeders to improve canine welfare nationwide.  

What they’ve achieved so far: To date, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation has funded over $17 million into canine cancer research and $1.1 million into tick-borne disease research. In addition, the charity has invested $2.8 million in canine epilepsy research, which is the most common neurological disorder in dogs. This research has led to the publication of 908 peer-reviewed publications that have been cited over 34,000 times.  

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a member of the foundation or by shopping through AmazonSmile

The Grey Muzzle Organization: Improving the Lives of Senior Dogs

The Grey Muzzle Organization was founded in 2008 by Julie Dudley after witnessing the challenges that senior dogs face due to age and health issues while volunteering as a foster parent. Today, the charity is dedicated to supporting senior dogs by funding animal welfare organizations across America.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Grey Muzzle Organization holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 100% Encompass rating for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator.

“A world where every senior dog thrives and no old dog dies alone and afraid.”

The Grey Muzzle Organization

What they do: The Grey Muzzle Organization provides financial support to animal welfare organizations and shelters nationwide, so they can build programs that meet the specialist needs of senior dogs. They also help senior citizens to adopt elderly dogs through their Senior-for-Senior adoption programs and provide a wealth of information on their website for the public on how to care for senior dogs.  

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Grey Muzzle Organization has awarded nearly $3.1 million in grants to 246 organizations for senior dog programs across America. In 2020, thanks to the funding of the charity, the Austin Humane Society was able to launch and expand their Senior Care initiative which has reduced the average time a senior dog spends at the shelter from 47 days down to 7 days. This is an 85% decrease. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Grey Muzzle Organization through their website. You can also support the charity by donating a bed for a senior dog or by volunteering

Best Friends Animal Society: Save Them All

The Best Friends Animal Society was founded in 1984 by a group of 31 individuals who wanted to create a sanctuary for homeless and abused animals in Utah. Today, the charity is a flagship organization for the No-Kill movement, dedicated to finding forever homes for vulnerable dogs and cats. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Best Friends Animal Society holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 2-star rating from Charity Navigator due to the money they invest into their fundraising programs.

“A world in which every pet has the chance to know love and companionship.”

Best Friends Animal Society

What they do: The Best Friends Animal Society is working to save the lives of dogs (and also cats) across America by creating initiatives that prevent unnecessary killings in shelters due to overcrowding. Their sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, cares for over 1,600 rescued dogs, cats, horses, and farm animals that are available for adoption after they have been given comprehensive medical care by the team of vets at the Best Friends Animal Clinic.

What they’ve achieved: Thanks to the work of the Best Friends Animal Society, 48% of all animal shelters in America are now No-Kill. This has saved an estimated 3.4 million canine and feline lives since 2016. In 2020, shelters that signed up for the No-Kill program reduced their intakes by 20% which resulted in a 44% decrease in unnecessary killings. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Best Friends Animal Society through their website. You can also support the charity by adopting or fostering an animal in need.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: The National Voice Against Animal Cruelty

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866 by Henry Bergh after he stopped a carriage driver from beating his fallen horse. Today, the charity is one of the largest humane societies in the world, advocating for the protection of all animals across America, including dogs.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

What they do: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is committed to ending the harmful puppy mill industry through advocacy and public education. They also respond to calls from the public to rescue animals kept in unsuitable conditions, as well as providing disaster relief aid. Additionally, they campaign heavily for the abolition of dogfighting and work to improve federal laws surrounding animal welfare through their Advocacy Center.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has transported 200,000 dogs and cats from overcrowded animal shelters to areas where they are more likely to be adopted. In 2020, the charity assisted over 104,900 vulnerable animals, neutered/spayed over 47,000 cats and dogs, and helped 370,590 companion animals through their Animal Poison Control Center helpline.  

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals through their website. You can also support the charity by adopting a pet in need or by joining their Puppy Mill Action Team.

Soi Dog Foundation: Ending Cruelty to Street Dogs in Asia

The Soi Dog Foundation was set up in 2003 by John and Gill Dalley after they witnessed the huge number of stray dogs living in appalling conditions on the streets of Thailand. Today, the charity is committed to rescuing and providing vital support to Thailand’s most vulnerable homeless canines. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Soi Dog Foundation holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia and to ultimately end animal cruelty.”

Soi Dog Foundation

What they do: The Soi Dog Foundation responds to animal emergencies and public calls about stray dogs in Phuket and Phang Nga. The animals are then transported to one of the charity’s hospitals where they are assessed and treated, before being placed up for adoption (nationally and internationally). The charity is also tackling the overpopulation of strays through their Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return program and campaigns heavily to end Thailand’s cruel dog meat trade.

What they’ve achieved: To date, the Soi Dog Foundation has neutered over 500,000 dogs and cats, including over 80% of the stray dog population in Phuket. In 2020, the charity medically treated 11,657 cats and dogs, and coordinated the delivery of over 11 tons of food to homeless animals. In the same year, they found loving forever homes for 727 dogs and cats. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Soi Dog Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a dog in need or by volunteering.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation: Together, We Are the Cure

The National Canine Cancer Foundation was set up in 2006 by Gary and Sara Nice after they lost their own dog, Bailey, to the deadly disease. Today, the charity is striving to eliminate cancer as a major health concern in companion dogs through research, outreach, and education.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The National Canine Cancer Foundation holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 74% Encompass rating for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator.

“Saving canine lives through prevention, more accurate and cost-effective diagnostic methods as well as better treatments to diminish the number of dogs that suffer with cancer.”

The National Canine Cancer Foundation

What they do: The National Canine Cancer Foundation awards research grants to scientists who are investigating the causes and treatments of canine cancer. They also provide vital information on how to prevent and detect cancer in dogs, as well as a comprehensive online library detailing the various types of canine cancer, their symptoms, and treatment options. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, the National Canine Cancer Foundation has invested nearly $1 million into canine cancer research. Their Canine Cancer Library is one of the most comprehensive online public resources on all types of cancer in dogs.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the National Canine Cancer Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online shop or by setting up your own fundraising event

United States War Dogs Association: Supporting Military Working Dogs

The United States War Dogs Association was founded in 2000 by five dog handlers who served in Vietnam, to raise funds for a memorial honoring the legacy of war dogs. Today, the charity is committed to promoting the vital work of war dogs, as well as providing life-long support and medical care.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: The United States War Dogs Association holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity has yet to be scored by Charity Navigator.

“To provide support throughout the life cycle of a military working dog and promote the distinguished history of their invaluable service.”

United States War Dogs Association

What they do: The United States War Dogs Association works to improve the welfare of working military dogs by sending care packages and essential equipment to handlers and their dogs, both in America and overseas. In addition, the charity provides medical care to retired military working dogs, as well as financial assistance to people who have adopted a retired military dog with specialist medical needs. They also help retired military dogs find new forever homes through their various chapters

What they’ve achieved: To date, the United States War Dogs Association has shipped over 30,000 care packages to dog handlers serving overseas. They have also supported over 1,000 retired military dogs through their prescription program. In addition, the charity has donated to or gifted 6 memorials honoring America’s war dog legacy. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the United States War Dogs Association through their website. You can also support the charity by joining their membership community.

Jameson Humane: Connecting Animals, Humans, and Our Planet

Jameson Humane was founded in 2014 by Monica and David Stevens to improve animal welfare through global collaboration. Today, the charity provides holistic support to vulnerable companion animals and their owners, including dogs.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: Jameson Humane holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 78% Encompass rating for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator.

“We seek to improve animal welfare through global collaboration and education for the benefit of all life.”

Jameson Humane

What they do: Jameson Humane provides financial and veterinary support to families who are unable to cover the medical costs of their pets, through their Community Animal Assistance Programs. They also offer Evac-Packs to help families care for their animals during natural disasters or times of conflict. In addition, the charity serves as an adoption and foster care shelter to help vulnerable dogs and cats find loving homes. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, Jameson Humane has saved an estimated 1.8 million canine and feline lives across 26 states, through their spay and neuter programs. In addition, the charity has saved the lives of over 50,000 dogs, cats, horses, and farm animals through their assistance programs. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Jameson Humane through their website. You can also support the charity by adopting a pet in need or by volunteering.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for helping dogs in need. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to helping dogs in need – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Carla Shaik

Carla is passionate about animal welfare and our natural environment and is on a mission to give you the knowledge you need to help protect our planet and all of its inhabitants. She holds a bachelor's of science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, is a teaching support officer at the College of West Anglia, and also works as a cat sitter in her local community. Aside from writing, she has a love of music, teaching her daughter how to play piano, and enjoys getting creative with craft activities.

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