If you’re like me, you can’t live without Amazon. I find myself buying almost everything I need from them including toilet paper. It’s a huge convenience and just a way of life. So when I learned that a small percent of that money I was already planning on spending at Amazon could go to a charitable cause, I jumped on board.

If you’re not familiar with it, this service is called Amazon Smile. Simply login to your account there and choose a charity that you would like 0.5% of your total buying to go towards. There are thousands of charities from big to small. I tend to switch mine up every year now and focus on smaller rescue shelters where the money can help a great deal. Especially local ones.

Now there is a small downside here. It’s covered in some interesting articles about this form of charitable giving. When people use Amazon Smile, they feel good about themselves. It maybe encourages them to purchase something they normally wouldn’t have. But 0.5% is still incredibly small. It would require $10,000 of spending for just a $50 donation to your local charity. So some worry that people will skip their normal charitable donations because they believe Amazon Smile is enough. This isn’t the case.

My personal solution is to treat Amazon Smile like an extra. I still plan to volunteer locally and make donations when I can. My Amazon purchases don’t change based on being able to donate, it’s just 0.5% ends up going somewhere. So they charity gets what they normally would get from me plus a little extra. It would really be nice if Amazon would increase that amount to at least 1%. I feel like that would be a nice way to garner some goodwill for a company that has taken some PR hits of late.

Finally, the best way to help is still to volunteer. Call up your local shelter and ask if they need help. They almost always do. Foster a pet till they can find a forever home. Don’t count on a small donation to be enough.

In the meantime, here are some great national charities you can add if a local shelter isn’t an option.

AKC Canine Health Foundation

We focus a lot on saving pets (and rightfully so!), but not as much on research. This foundation helps fund medical research into lymphoma, epilepsy, and other diseases that can shorter our pets life. This is more of a big picture approach to saving lives.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation

Similar to AKC, this is the non-profit arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association. They provide grants all through the scientific world to help understand and cure diseases that strike our canine partners.

National Canine Cancer Foundation

Cancer really sucks and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t lost a family member or pet to it. They are currently funding cures for hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma and sarcoma. Not to mention canine bladder and lung cancer.

Grey Muzzle

Senior dog charities are near and dear to my heart. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing a senior dog abandoned having to live out their final days alone. This organization supports shelters, rescue organizations, and sanctuaries for senior dogs.

Few more notable mentions:

The Pet Fund
Morris Animal Foundation
Old Dog Haven
Young at Heart Pet Rescue
The Senior Dogs Project
The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs