So you’ve made the decision to adopt a dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig or other adorable domesticated creature that you can find on pet adoption sites. You have considered everything that needs to be taken into account: you are mentally prepared to care for a pet, your home is pet-friendly and equipped for your pet’s safety and comfort, and you have the financial means to provide a pet with all it needs (food, shelter, exercise, vet visits for wellness and illness, to name a few).
Your heart is in the right place and we couldn’t be happier. About 6.3 million pets enter animal shelters in the United States each year waiting for good homes, according to the ASPCA. There is no shortage of homeless animals, and the world can always use generous souls like you to foster adoptable cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals.
But before you jump in and get a pet, there are a lot of things to note about “shopping” for one. The most important thing is that you are NOT “shopping”. Finding the right pet for you (and in many cases, your family) isn’t like buying a pair of shoes. Although many websites offer adoptable pets, it’s not a good idea to pick one that you haven’t met. You should spend time with the animal in real life to ensure you have a good rapport and learn more about its personality and needs. You don’t just choose the pet – the pet must also choose you.
To help you find the pet that’s right for you, we’ve rounded up reputable nationwide sites that offer pet adoption services. Here are the best pet adoption websites in 2o22:
Petfinder specializes in all kinds of pets, from traditional dogs and cats to barnyard pals like horses, rabbits, and pigs. You can filter your pet search by age, organization, and traits, and receive endless tips on training and grooming.
This nonprofit lists pets from more than 17,000 shelters and rescues across North America — it even has pets in Canada. The Adopt a Pet website is very simple, which makes it easy for people who aren’t as tech-savvy. The site allows you to filter by location, age, and race. If you ever need it, you can also put a pet up for adoption and help find a forever home with the Rehome program.
The ASPCA may be known for its heartbreaking ads about abused dogs, but the organization doesn’t want to make you cry. He wants to help you find a furry friend. If you find yourself in New York or Los Angeles, you can use local ASPCA adoption centers to find dogs and cats for adoption near these major cities. If you’re not near an ASPCA location, you can always use the site’s local shelter portal to find all the pets for adoption in your area.
Best Friends first launched in Kanab, Utah in the 1980s. Since then, it has expanded to major cities across the country, including Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. Best Friends’ mission is to “save them all”, with the goal of ending all pet murders.
Like most pet adoption websites, PetSmart Charities narrows your search for pets by zip code, breed, color, size, age, and gender. The organization lists pets from various shelters and rescues in your zip code. Once you find the one you want to adopt, you contact the specific shelter or rescue and begin the process directly with them. PetSmart Charities also offers horses, farm animals, rabbits and birds.
If you want to adopt a specific breed, the AKC Rescue Network is for you. It lets you search for rescue networks across the country for your breed of choice, then sends you to that rescue’s site, most of which will have an adoption option. Although not the most direct site, it is ideal if you want a particular breed but don’t want to go through a breeder.
We love the North Shore Animal League of America because it’s the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. In an effort to find loving homes for pets, they also offer an easy way to search for a cat or dog on their site. Just add your zip code and search. You will then receive results from the nearest Animal League location. To date, they have rescued over 1.1 million animals.
Most adoption sites help you find cats and dogs. Some will help you find reptiles and farm animals. Rescue Me goes one step further and not only has countless pets for adoption, but also has resources available for wildlife rehabilitators. Given the variety of pets available, Rescue Me asks prospective pet parents to narrow down their choices beforehand. Once you’ve decided on the type of pet you want to adopt, you can narrow your search by state.
As with most adoption websites, Petco Love gives you the ability to filter your search by location, race, color, size, age, and gender. Your local Petco store is also likely hosting adoption events with shelters or rescue groups in your area, if you’d rather find your furry friend in person.
Petango has partnered with nearly 2,000 welfare organizations in the United States and Canada to provide our customers with real-time pet updates. So, as long as you are in North America, you can find all the pet shelters near you. Think of it as a pet adoption aggregator.
Christy Piña is the digital fellow for WomansDay.com, where she covers women’s issues, lifestyle and entertainment. When she’s not writing about everything under the sun, she’s probably marathoning her newfound streaming obsession, reading fiction, or planning brunch with her friends. She is fluent in Spanglish and drinks way too much iced coffee.
Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with over 15 years of digital media experience. She has created share-worthy content for publishers Shape, What To Expect, Cafe Mom, TODAY, CBS News, HuffPo, The Bump, Health, Ask Men and Best Gifts. A working mother of two, her editorial expertise in parenting, shopping and home is embedded in her daily life.
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