Formed in 1994 by PetSmart founders Jim and Janice Dougherty, who chose never to sell dogs and cats within their stores, PetSmart Charities is the largest financial supporter of animal welfare in the United States.

The primary goal of PetSmart Charities is to save the lives of homeless pets through programs such as the PetSmart in-store adoption centers, Rescue Waggin' disaster relief program, grant program for animal welfare agencies across North America, and community adoption events. The secondary focus of PetSmart Charities is to increase spay/neuter services to help communities solve the problem of pet overpopulation.