What to Expect When You Adopt

When you choose to welcome a new best friend home, you help save lives!

What to Expect When You Adopt

Bigger smiles. Cozier naps. Warmer welcomes every time you walk in the door. When you adopt a pet, so many things change for the better. Adopting a pet brightens your life and adds unconditional love every day. And not only do you give a loving home to a shelter pet, but it also opens an additional spot in the shelter so that more pets can be saved. Read on to learn more about adoption processes when you choose to welcome a new best friend home.

"The love you receive from your adopted pet will exceed your expectations every day."

How much are adoption fees?
Adoption fees vary depending on the type of organization where you adopt a new pet. Organizations with the lowest adoption prices often have the greatest number of animals in need and the least amount of resources. Your local city or county shelter is likely to have the most affordable adoption fees with 53% of organizations reporting adoption fees of $100 or less, and 90% reporting adoption fees less than $200. Adopting from a foster-based rescue group is another excellent avenue but be prepared for higher adoption fees as 87% of these organizations report adoption fees greater than $100. Private nonprofit SPCA’s and humane societies generally charge fees in the middle range.

Where you live also impacts adoption fees, and many of the regional differences are driven by supply and demand. If you live in the Northeast, adoption fees tend to be higher, followed by the Midwest. Organizations located in the South report the lowest adoption fees nationwide, with 18% of local city/county shelters in the South reporting dog adoption fees at less than $50.

To get the most accurate adoption fee, contact your local animal welfare organization directly and they can help walk you through the adoption process. In the end, you can always expect to pay less than what you will receive in return, because the love of an adopted pet is genuinely priceless.

When is the best time to adopt?
There are so many pets in shelters who need a loving home right now. Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Any time is a good time to adopt, but if you’re looking for the best adoption price possible, keep an eye out for adoption promotions in your area. Over 90% of all organizations report that they conduct adoption promotions to help get more pets adopted. Keep in mind that all these organizations are mission-driven with a focus on saving more lives, so even if you do get the best adoption rate, consider donating to help save another pet in need.

How soon after can I bring my newly adopted pet home?
If you are adopting from a local city/county shelter or private SPCA or humane society, you’ll likely be able to take your new pet home the same day you adopt, as 50% of these organizations report that pets go home that same day and more than 75% within at least three days. Smaller rescue groups might take slightly longer as their process is more detailed but even then, 79% send pets home the same week after being adopted.

How difficult is it to adopt a pet?
Most organizations try to make their adoption process as simple and as friendly as possible, because in the end they want to see these great shelter pets adopted into loving homes. Smaller foster-based rescue groups tend to have less animals available for adoption, and often many interested adopters for each pet, compared to local city/county shelters and nonprofit SPCAs and humane societies. Rest assured, there is a wonderful shelter pet waiting to go home with you somewhere in your community. So, if at first you don’t succeed, or if a pet is no longer available, check different options in your community. Shelter staff can also help you find the perfect pet for your lifestyle.

At the Petco Foundation, we believe that the love of a pet changes everything. We work with thousands of incredible animal welfare groups across the country to help pets get adopted and we’ve helped more than 6.5 million pets find loving homes! Search for an adoptable pet near you at petcofoundation.org/search and reach out to your local animal welfare organization to learn more about their specific adoption process. When you go to adopt a pet, be patient, be grateful, and be generous, because the love you receive from your adopted pet will exceed your expectations every day!