Thank you for adopting a pet! We’re here to help you every step of the way from “just looking” at over 300,000 adoptable pets, to bringing your pet home, to living a long and happy life with your new family member.
The following links will take you to some of the most frequently asked questions about adopting a pet that you see on Petfinder. If you can’t find the answer below, please contact us (see the bottom of this page) with any additional questions you have.
- How Do I Meet a Pet I See On Petfinder?
To learn about a specific pet, please contact the shelter or rescue that has listed this pet. Just go to the Pet Profile page (by clicking on the pet’s picture or name on a search-results page) and the contact information will be listed under the picture by clicking either the “Adopt Me” button or “Contact this Organization.”
- How Can I Tell If a Rescue Group Is Real or a Scam?
All the adoption groups that list their pets on Petfinder have been carefully screened by our shelter outreach staff. If you have concerns about a shelter or rescue group listed on Petfinder, please contact us. If you’re looking beyond Petfinder for a pet to adopt, there are some red flags to keep an eye out for. No one point alone proves a rescue group isn’t legit. But if you find several of these warning signs, you might want to look for your adoptable pet elsewhere.
Learn the warning signs that a rescue group could be a scam >
- Can I Give a Pet As a Gift?
Want to give a pet as a gift? Give Petfinder’s Pet Promise Certificate instead! With the Pet Promise Certificate, your loved one can adopt the pet that best suits his or her lifestyle — and you promise to cover the adoption fees for the new family member. In addition, the Certificate features a New Adopter’s Pledge that promotes responsible pet parenting.
Learn more about Petfinder’s Pet Promise Certificate >
- Can I Save My Search or Be Notified When New Pets Are Available?
An option you might consider using is our saved search feature. This allows you to be notified by email when pets matching your search criteria are first posted on the site so that you can inquire immediately. After performing a search, at the top of a returned list you will see a link for “Save Search”. This feature will save your pet search and allow you to either visit see the newly added pets or have them emailed directly to you. To use the Saved Search, you will have to choose a user name and password. You can register or login.
- How Often Is Petfinder Updated?
Each shelter or rescue group is responsible for updating its own adoptable pet listings as pets are made available and as they are adopted. This way, Petfinder is updated every day, all day by our network of nearly 14,000 shelters and rescue groups across North America.
- Does Contacting the Adoption Group Put The Pet on Hold?
Submitting an adoption inquiry does not guarantee the pet you’ve applied for, nor does it place a pet “on hold”. For more information regarding the status of your application, or the pet you’ve applied for, please contact the shelter or rescue group listing the pet directly.
- Am I Applying to Petfinder?
No. Once you’ve submitted an inquiry to an adoption group, the shelter or rescue group with the pet you’re interested in will be sent your information. It is then up to the shelter or rescue group to determine whether it’s a match.
- How Will I Know If I’ve Been Approved to Adopt a Pet?
After submitting an adoption inquiry, the shelter or rescue group with the pet you’re interested in will contact you. You may also reach out to the shelter or rescue group directly to follow up.
- How Long Will It Take to Hear Back From The Adoption Group?
Petfinder is a community and, like all communities, each individual or organization is a little bit different. Ideally, when you visit an animal shelter someone will greet you when you walk through the door, escort you in to meet the pets and answer your questions. Sometimes though, the person at the desk is on a tough phone call, everyone in the reception office is tied up with two boxes of kittens that just arrived, and the volunteer in the dog kennels just started and has as many questions as you do. Likewise, some days you might send in an inquiry and get a response within a few minutes and other groups may take a few days or a week. Don’t be afraid to follow up with the shelter or rescue group. Learn more >
If you’re interested in a specific pet, please reach out to the adoption group that has that pet. (You can contact the group using the contact information below the pet’s photo on the pet’s profile.) Remember, even if your heart is set on that “one special pet” you saw with a specific group on Petfinder, check the pet lists of other groups, stop in at your local shelter, and check out our Event Calendarto meet with other rescue organizations. Bring a friend who might also be interested in adopting. You’ll become a more informed adopter and your adoption experience will be richer. Should you miss out on your “chosen one” because you don’t meet the shelter or rescue group’s adoption criteria, you are still moving forward toward finding that special forever friend.
- Can I Adopt a Pet Who’s Out of State?
Thank you for your interest in adopting a pet! Each adoption group that lists its pets on Petfinder has its own rules and requirements for adopting out pets. Petfinder doesn’t dictate adoption group policy, including adoption requirements and whether out-of-state adoptions are allowed by each group.If you’re interested in a specific pet, please reach out to the adoption group that has that pet. (You can contact the group using the contact information below the pet’s photo or by clicking “Adopt Me” on the pet’s profile.)
- Will There Be An Adoption Fee?
Thank you for your interest in adopting a pet! Each adoption group that lists its pets on Petfinder has its own rules and requirements for adopting out pets. Petfinder doesn’t dictate adoption group policy, including adoption fees and whether out-of-state adoptions are allowed by each group.If you’re interested in adoption fees for a specific pet, please reach out to the adoption group that has that pet. (You can contact the group using the contact information below the pet’s photo or by clicking “Adopt Me” on the pet’s profile.)
- Why Do Shelters and Rescue Groups Charge Adoption Fees?
Adoption fees help cover the medical care of the animal while he or she waits for a new home, as well as food and transportation costs. These fees help to provide care for the other animals in the shelter or rescue group who may have medical bills that are much higher than any possible adoption fee. The money also acts as a donation to help support the organization as a whole, allowing the group to continue its efforts to rescue and rehome pets. Learn more about pet-adoption fees >
Thanks for your interest in adopting! All of the animal shelters and rescue groups on our site undergo an application and screening process prior to being able to post the group’s adoptable pets. They must also provide a letter of reference from their primary veterinarian. You are welcome to contact us with any concerns regarding the groups posting on our site. It’s important to us that our member shelters and rescue groups remain in good standing in the animal welfare community. Please be sure to include the full name, city and state of the group you are referring to.
Note: Specific complaints about rescue groups included in the comments below will be deleted. Please be sure to email us any concerns.
Do you still have a question? Contact us here and we’ll be happy to help. Thank you for your patience and helping an adoptable pet find a forever home!