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10 Best Pet Adoption Websites for Finding Your New Best Friend

10 Best Pet Adoption Websites for Finding Your New Best Friend

Are you ready to find your new best friend? Dog adoption websites are a great way to find the right match for you. Keep reading to learn more about pet adoption, its benefits, and its challenges. And we reveal the ten best pet adoption websites.

Let’s dig in. 

What Are the Reasons That Pets Get Put Up for Adoption?

People relinquish their pets for many reasons. One of the most common reasons includes a move to another area or somewhere where pets aren’t allowed. Or getting a new landlord who determines you can’t have pets. 

Another reason people get rid of their dog or cat is the cost of pet maintenance, like vet bills and food. Or the owner has financial or personal problems. Sometimes the owner doesn’t want a pet anymore or doesn’t have time for it. 

Sadly, there are also instances of abuse. In those cases, the animal gets put up for adoption due to being taken away from the owner. Additionally, many lost pets are found as strays and never reunited with their owners.

It’s important to remember that many cats and dogs at shelters are wonderful family pets that are there by no fault of their own. There are fantastic animals at rescues and shelters, and we recommend checking them out first when looking to add a new furry family member.

What Are the Benefits of Pet Adoption? 

The apparent benefit of pet adoption is providing a home for an animal in need. In return, you get unconditional love and companionship from the animal. Adoption is a win-win situation. 

Other benefits of pet adoption include saving a dog or cat from shelters that euthanize. Some organizations find it harder to place certain breeds with adoptive pet parents. For example, breeds thought to be aggressive, such as Pitbulls, have a harder time leaving shelters. However, these dogs deserve a kind home as well, despite their stereotypes.

In addition, adopting a pet is almost always cheaper than buying one. Typically the dog or cat is already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped, so you don’t have those vet bills. And puppies from breeders can be extremely costly to purchase, whereas adopting is affordable and helpful. 

If you specifically want a puppy as a pet, many shelters have them available for adoption on their websites.

best pet adoption websites
Pet adoption is a win-win situation for you and the animal.

What Are the Challenges of Pet Adoption?

While the benefits outweigh the downsides of adopting a pet, you can still face challenges. For example, if you adopt a dog with a history of abuse or neglect, your dog may take a while to get comfortable with you. And the dog may suffer from social anxiety or separation anxiety. Depending on their previous, they may also be at various stages of training.

Don’t be discouraged. Your vet is a great resource to help you work through potential issues. Youtube is a wealth of training tips and courses, and obedience training classes are readily available.

Another challenge you may encounter with pet adoption is introducing your new pet to other animals in the house. It may take some time for everyone to adjust. Be sure to do a little research on how to introduce your new pet, and have patience. 

However, many pet adoption websites list background information on each pet so you can know how to prepare. Some have come from homes with other animals, children, farm animals, and more.

Looking for a paw-some rescue organization? Check out Street Dog Hero, one of our favorites!

10 Best Pet Adoption Websites Finding Your New Best Friend

We’ve identified 10 of the best pet adoption websites. Let’s take a closer look and get you one step closer to finding your new dog, cat, or another adoptable animal.

1. Petfinder 

Petfinder is one of the most popular cat and dog adoption websites. It’s an online searchable database with a directory of approximately 11,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. 

The database is updated daily. Petfinder makes money via sponsors and advertisements on its site. 

The types of listings you’ll find on Petfinder are all directly linked to pet shelters’ and adoption organizations’ websites. 

You’ll mainly find dogs and cats, but it also lists rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, horses, birds, fish, and barnyard animals.

adoptable dogs in kennels in animal shelter
There are many great dogs and cats available for adoption in shelters near you! Search and view them on these best pet adoption websites.

2. AKC Rescue Network

The American Kennel Club (AKC) Rescue Network is a group of dog rescue organizations throughout the U.S., organized by the AKC in 2013.

It has 160 breeds within the network and more than 450 rescue groups. The groups focus on fostering and rehabilitation before the dog gets rehomed.

You can find a list of the organizations and their websites within the network on the AKC website. And they’re listed in alphabetical order according to breed to help you narrow your search.

3. Adopt a Pet

Adopt a Pet helps over 15,000 animal shelters, humane societies, ASPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their pets in need of homes. 

The company connects people with a pet right for them and provides resources for seamlessly welcoming an adoptive pet into your home. In addition, major pet industry brands such as Zoetis sponsor Adopt a Pet.

You’ll find various breeds of dogs, cats, and other animals on the site. You can find adoptive pets located across the U.S. 

4. PetSmart Charities

PetSmart Charities is a leading funder of animal welfare across North America. They’ve granted over $500 million to pet organizations since 1994. And they’ve helped adopt over 10 million animals. 

They have in-store pet adoption centers in PetSmart stores and an online search tool on their website. In addition, the charity also provides disaster response, including veterinary support.

On PetSmart Charities online search tool, you can put in your zip code and choose what type of pet you want to adopt. You’ll then be directed to options in your area.

5. Rescue Me

Rescue Me is an online network that helps all breeds of dogs, cats, and other animals. It’s the world’s largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations and has a comprehensive list of wildlife rehabilitation centers in over 150 countries. Over 1.1 million animals have been adopted on the website.

You can find organizations to adopt from on the website by searching for your area, breed, or type of animal.


ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was the first humane society established in North America. They ensure that animals get respect and protection under the law. 

The non-profit organization has over two million supporters and is recognized as a national animal welfare organization. 

Their website lists adoptable dogs, cats, and horses. You can view animals available for adoption or fostering in local shelters across the U.S.

7. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary focuses on saving the lives of dogs, cats, and other animals through adoption. The organization began in 1984 with a group of friends who settled in Utah’s high desert to rescue animals and achieve no-kill across the entire country.

You can adopt from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It lists pets that need a home on its website and has a foster care program.

8. The Shelter Pet Project

The Shelter Pet Project is a campaign that collaborates with the Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, and Ad Council. They rally to help keep pets with families. 

You can foster a dog or cat through the project. The Shelter Pet Project website points to resources and shelters you can foster through. And they have a pet food and care fund to which you can donate. 

9. Petco Love

Petco Love started in 1999 to formalize Petco’s commitment to animal welfare. Its mission is to create a future where no pet is unnecessarily euthanized. Petco Love is a non-profit organization. 

This pet adoption website provides resources and opportunities to foster or search for shelters near you to foster or adopt a pet.

10. Petango

Petango is a pet adoption website that allows you to search for animals in the U.S. and Canada. It’s partnered with over 1,800 animal welfare organizations to provide a pet adoption search tool with real-time updates.

You can search for dogs and cats by breed and location on the website. And sometimes, it lists other types of animals on the site. 

Can You Foster an Animal Before Adoption? 

Typically, you can foster a dog or cat before adoption. Fostering is the perfect way to see if a pet is right for you. And perhaps you’ve wanted a particular dog. Fostering allows you to get to know the breed while providing a home for an animal in need.

Most organizations also have a foster-to-adopt program. So, if you fall in love with your foster pet, you can move right into adoption when you’re ready.

best pet adoption websites
Besides pet adoption websites, you can visit your local animal shelter or humane society to inquire about pets in need of a home.

What Other Ways Can You Find Pets to Adopt? 

The best pet adoption websites on our list are convenient ways to find your new furry family member. But there are other ways to find pets to adopt if searching online isn’t your thing. 

You can visit or call your local animal shelters or humane societies. You can also search local community groups on Facebook for people wanting to rehome their pets. Just beware of pet adoption scams.

How Can You Identify and Avoid an Adoption Scam? 

Unfortunately, some people try to make money from innocent animals. Be sure not to fall for a pet adoption scam. Scams typically happen on Facebook or Craiglist-type marketplaces. Someone poses as a seller and collects payment for a dog that doesn’t exist.

You can identify a scam when you must deposit the money before seeing the animal. Sometimes a scammer will ask you to pay in gift cards. Other red flags include the dog would need to be shipped or transported to you or the photos of the animal don’t seem legit. 

A good way to avoid an adoption scam is to use one of the pet adoption websites on our list. Also, never pay for the animal without seeing it first and verifying the seller’s trustworthiness. Some animals also come from abusive or illegal breeding operations, which you also want to avoid.

Is Adopting a Dog or Cat Worth It?

Adopting a dog or cat is worth it! Pet adoption websites are a great way to start the search if you want to add a pet to your family. Adopting a pet can bring joy to your life that you wouldn’t have expected. 

Are you ready to adopt? If you adopt a pet from one of the websites on our list, let us know about your experience. We would love to hear your story and see a photo of your new fur baby. 

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About Petrics

Petrics was born out of a love of helping animals and their owners live life to their fullest! Established in 2022, Petrics was founded by Caitlin and Tom Morton of Mortons on the Move, Discovery TV Show hosts and successful RV Travel Experts. They are a full-time RVing couple who loved traveling with their beloved rescue dogs. This Petrics team strives to share the most interesting questions answered, the most entertaining news and culture, and the most inspiring rescue stories. Additionally, our mission is to give back to animal welfare organizations so they can continue their good work in saving the constant stream of animals in need. In fact, 5% of all profits from Petrics are donated to animal-saving initiatives!

Our team has been animal caretakers and lovers all our lives. We get it. We know how deep the love for your furbabies goes, and we know where all your questions come from. We have them too! That’s why we strive to bring you the best pet-related content out there, backed by data and real-life trials, as much as possible.

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