Sometimes it’s a tough road to pet adoption, especially if you’re not sure what type of pet is right for you. Before beginning the pet adoption journey, we have detailed the 9 best pet adoption websites to take a look at.
Each one will have its own pros and cons, depending on your preference, but our guide will help you navigate what’s best for your situation. There are even a few charity components to these sites that will perhaps push you to donate or volunteer to animals in need.
What Should You Look For In A Pet Adoption Website?
Before starting the online pet adoption search, you should sit down beforehand and write out some basic parameters to look for on each site.
Think about your lifestyle and if you are able to take a high-energy dog on long walks or if you already have a pet at home, how they will interact with your newest addition. You should spend some time thinking about what you are able to handle as an owner. Some sites even list if an animal has special needs.
This could be something you want to take on, but you should think about your realistic capabilities as an owner. Some are willing to dedicate time to handle extra medical needs, while others are looking more for a companion to spend time with. There is no wrong answer. However, you should think about your lifestyle, living arrangements, and the time that must go into acclimating a new animal into your home.
How To Identify A Good Site/App For Pet Adoption
A good site or app for pet adoption should have different search criteria and explanations behind the specific animal you are looking at. These sites should also put animals first rather than price or other factors of less importance. The ultimate goal is being able to adopt a healthy pet, or to at least know what that animal’s current medical situation is. Complete transparency and an animal first attitude will usually point you in the right direction.
Pay Attention To Descriptions
You may see a picture and fall in love with an animal – who wouldn’t. But you really should read the descriptions of each animal before making your final decision. This is important when understanding that different animals have different medical histories and backgrounds to consider. You should always see if the dog or cat has any information if they are special-needs or maybe if they’re not great around kids.
These descriptions shouldn’t scare you away from an animal, but they’re there to inform you. In fact, some people are even looking to care for pets that require special care. It all depends on your situation. Keep that in mind throughout your search, it surely won’t lead you astray.
Do Thorough Research
As mentioned, it’s best to do thorough research before quickly adopting an animal. Some websites are alluring, but lack proper descriptors of the animal, or just neglect to put the animal’s needs first. We all want to make sure that every animal finds a wonderful forever home, but there do need to be steps in place. One step is seeing how the adoption process works. Look if there is contact information and if they are willing to let you meet the animal before diving into paperwork. Overall, the key is that the animal is put first.
This goes along with the point of thorough research. You should compare adoption fees to other places before making a decision. This allows you to understand that an adoption website shouldn’t be overcharging potential adopters. There is usually a set range for adoption given the type of dog and your location. You can even get in contact with your local shelter to see what they think the average adoption rate should be. It’s always best to go in with more information than less.
Flexible Adoption Agreements
Interestingly, there are no national laws regarding adoption requirements. However, thanks to Nom Nom, there is a breakdown of the varying pet adoption laws in all 50 states. For example, in 2017 California passed a law requiring that all pet stores only sell rescue animals. This was effectively established to forbid the continuation of puppy and kitten mills from making money. It would certainly be wise to first see how your state’s laws matter when it comes to animal adoption. From there, you can go in knowing what to expect with an adoption agreement.
10 Best Pet Adoption Websites
There are so many pet adoption websites it would probably make your head spin. But not all sites are created equal. That’s why we set out to track down the 10 best pet adoption websites for you to use.
Petfinder is an extremely intuitive option for pet owners of all kinds. It offers search options for dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, even horses. There’s even a quiz to help you find an animal that’s a perfect match. Each animal usually comes with a detailed backstory, contact information, pictures/videos, and information about the shelter/organization. This is extremely helpful as you decide what animal is best for you.
Be sure to also check out Petfinder’s Dog Adoption page to get helpful tips about adoption and pet care.
As America’s largest non-profit pet adoption web service, Adopt-a-Pet offers an immersive experience for those looking to adopt largely cats and dogs. It does also have search options for rabbits, birds, horses, small animals, reptiles/amphibians/fish, and farm-type animals. You can even search by shelter location or filter with shelters that house the animals of your choice.
In similar fashion with Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet includes a featured pet section to showcase local adoptable dogs close to your area. It also has a great article explaining how the Adopt-a-Pet process works, and what to expect with different shelters.
3. Rescue Me
With more than 1 million animals adopted, Rescue Me is definitely doing something right. Rescue Me doesn’t just aim to help dogs and cats find homes – it also helps horses, birds, and a few other animals too.
The site is broken down into two features: animals for adoption and finding a home for an animal. You can take on the role of the adopter but also work to potentially place animals if you have a good home in mind. There’s even a video explaining the 200 reasons to use Rescue Me.
4. Petco Love
Petco Love is a foundation set up as an extension of the Petco brand. The search allows you to find local dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, rabbits, and other small animals. You can search by sex, color, age, breed, and size to find an animal that suits your lifestyle.
The nice part about Petco Love is its large partnerships and funding to support animal shelter programs. Thanks to their partnership with BOBS from Skechers, Petco Love received a donation of more than $4.9 million to help save and support 1.6 million dogs and cats. Not only is their pet adoption program easy to use, but they’ve capitalized on beneficial partnerships to better serve animals in need. A true win-win.
The ASPCA is a great learning center for animal advocacy and adoption. Their adoption website is a recognized welfare organization with great attention to the animals they serve. They offer more adoptions for dogs, especially those housed in New York City based shelters and rescues. However, there are also adoptable dogs in North Carolina and the Los Angeles area.
As an information hub, you can also use their site to find adoption tips so you can be prepared before bringing your pet home.
You’re probably familiar with PetSmart as a store, but their charity arm should be equally known. In 28 years they have made a difference by helping more than 10 million pets get adopted into their forever homes. In that time they’ve also been able to raise more than $500 million in grant funds to support nonprofits and government entities. You can also check out their latest articles for inspiring adoption journeys and community impact information.
The search allows you to find animals in your area based on criteria like age, breed, color, size, and gender. And many of the individual descriptions are quite detailed for you to get a better sense of an animal’s personality.
The Shelter Project was created in collaboration with The Humane Society and Maddie’s Fund along with The Ad Council to provide adoption services for animals in need of a loving home. You can search by choosing to look for a cat, dog, or particular shelter close to home.
They are very transparent about their practices and even supply links to their campaigns and outreach tools and templates including:
- #AdoptPure Love Campaign
- Media Outreach Toolkit for Shelters and Rescue Groups
- Shelter Pet Project Social Media Messaging
This type of transparency is quite refreshing to see. The Shelter Project keeps animals’ welfare top of mind, but they have used partnerships and social media to take them the extra mile.
The AKC Rescue Network is the largest network of dog rescue groups in the country, and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2013. As a result, the AKC Rescue Network groups work tirelessly to foster and rehabilitate animals before they can be adopted or rehomed.
While they don’t list individual dogs, they do provide links to rescue groups that you can then see what animals are available for adoption. However, the information on their website could be helpful in your search. They even have a few quizzes to match you with an appropriate breed and provide tips/tricks on best care practices.
Where would we be if we didn’t continue to promote our partnerships with shelters and rescues around the nation. We have so many amazing animals up for adoption, our search option allows people to see the organizations an animal is associated with and fill out an adoption application to then be contacted by the shelter.
However, if you’re looking for more information about local shelters and rescues near you, you can always check out our Shelter and Rescue Search page.
Why Choose To Adopt Online Anyway?
Plain and simple, it might be easier for you. So many things are done online, that online adoption makes a lot of sense. Animal shelter and rescue organizations can reach more people by posting stories and pictures and even videos of animals looking for a good home. They can show off their personality to someone willing to drive a few states away just to meet with a silly dog or a spunky cat.
The internet and social media have both empowered us to connect and have an impact on what matters most. In this case, online adoption has become the pathway for so many to connect from essentially anywhere.
To see more animals in need of loving homes, head over to our Adoption page. You may just fall in love with the faces you see.