How to Adopt a Dog or Cat During COVID-19

Shelter Dog

Is it okay to adopt a dog or cat during the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you reach out to ask around coronavirus? And are there ways to help pets in need right now without adopting or fostering?

The pet adoption process has certainly changed a lot over the last few months, but it’s still possible to adopt a new best friend, despite limitations due to COVID-19. Many shelters and rescues are embracing technology to assist with the adoption process. Adoptions can still be completed safely with social distancing in mind. And adopting is still one of the best ways to help shelters in need!

If you’re considering adoption, start by checking out available pets for adoption. Then reach out to the shelter or rescue group for details on how they are handling processes during this time. They may be conducting video interviews or doing curb-side adoptions. If you’re comfortable with the process, let them know you’re ready to adopt!

    New pet adoption processes during COVID-19

    There are a number of ways shelters have adapted their pet adoption processes during COVID-19, including:

    • Digital adoption applications and virtual ‘meet’ and greets
    • Virtual adoptions and events hosted online or through social media
    • Curbside pet adoptions (once applications have been approved)
    • Phone or video chat conversations with adoption counselors to answer questions and facilitate adoptions
    • Pre-scheduled interviews and appointment-only adoption hours

    Reasons why to adopt a pet during COVID-19

    • Adopting is one of the best ways to ease the burden of shelters and rescues that may be struggling right now.
    • Many shelters are currently offering flexible fostering or foster-to-adopt arrangements if you’re not quite ready to adopt.
    • Shelters and rescue groups are adapting in a myriad of ways, with adjusted protocols and additional safety measures all leading to positive adoption stories
    • It’s always a good time to help a pet in need!

    Advice for potential pet adopters during COVID-19

    • Be flexible. We’re all getting used to the new normal, and different adoption groups may be handling things different ways.
    • Ask questions if you have them. Many organizations will be happy to work with you or talk through any concerns you have.
    • Don’t give up! These new pet adoption processes can take additional time, and shelters and rescues are extraordinarily busy trying to adapt. Try not to get too frustrated if things take additional time, or you have to reach out for additional information.

    Other things to keep in mind

    • If you do bring home a new dog or cat best friend. Be patient. It can take 2-3 weeks for an animal to acclimate and relax in a new environment, so don’t give up on a newly adopted pet too soon.
    • If you can’t adopt, consider fostering. It can make a socially distant time a lot more cuddly, and helps shelters and pets, too.
    • Still not ready to adopt or foster? You can always donate to pets in need through the Petfinder Foundation, which is providing grants for shelters affected by COVID-19. You can also reach out to your local shelter for ways to help, or check out our list of additional ways to support pets in need during this time.