In the last 10 years, pet adoption websites have skyrocketed in popularity and are now the most common way that people find their next best friend.
We believe in supporting local animal shelters, but for those who don’t have much time, using pet adoption websites can help to “match” you with your next pet in a more efficient manner. You can be as specific or as general in your search as you want to be. You can search your local area, or are you willing to travel thousands of miles for the perfect pet? The choice is yours!
How do these websites work, you ask? Private and public animal shelters (“kill” and “no-kill”), humane associations, rescue groups, and even veterinarians can list pets on a number of these websites. Essential information is included in each listing such as species (cat, dog, rabbit, tortoise, etc.), sex, breed, color, size, location and even personality traits. If you have children, you can even “filter” your search to include only pets that have proven to be good with children.
But how do you know which website to use? Aren’t they all pretty much the same? We’ve reviewed 10 of the top pet adoption websites and as you will see… the answer may surprise you!
“Adopt a pet” is a non-profit website that helps to match homeless pets with their future parents and it’s funded by Purina, Petco Foundation and pharmaceutical giant Bayer. Its homepage contains a search engine that is straightforward and easy to use. You can plug in your zip code (for North American searches only) and even select the distance you are willing to look, up to 250 miles! If you select the “Advanced Search” option, you can look specifically for a pet with special needs or a bonded pair.
“Pet Finder” is one of the oldest and most widely used pet finding websites in North America. It also has some of the most “options” available for searching their pet database. You can search for basics like breed, sex and location – but you can add in additional information to your search such as “house trained”, “declawed”, and you can also define your household as having “cats”, “dogs” and/or “small children.” A great feature that has been recently added are Volunteers pages. If you don’t want to add a pet to your home but still help out those in need, you can get information about Volunteering with dogs or cats under the Shelters & Rescues tab.
3. The Shelter Pet Project
If you only want to adopt from a shelter, the Shelter Pet Project website is the place to start. It has an AMAZING feature where you can interact with a shelter pet online. You can choose between a several dogs and cats, each with their own name and story. You can watch them walk, flick their tail, hear them bark or purr and learn more about their personalities. The experience of interacting with these pets online can give you a glimpse into how wonderful having a shelter pet in your life can be.
4. PetsMart Charities
“Big box” store PetsMart founded a large charity to help better the lives of pets through spay-neuter programs and adoptions. It also offers grants to help fund shelters and helps host shelter and rescue animals within its stores. This remarkable charity offers a small search engine that can help you find your next pet online. Better yet, you can stop by your local PetsMart during an adoption drive or see their adoptable cats in person.
The North Shores Animal League was founded in 1944 and has helped save over a million pets in the New York-New Jersey area. They are a no-kill organization and aims to rescue animals from overcrowded shelters. Their website is up-to-date and has a wealth of educational information for owners and owners-to-be (such as “Ask the Vet” and “Ask the Trainer” features) as well as a search engine to help you find your next cuddly companion.
The Animal Foundation is a large adoption center (8 acre campus!) in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also work closely with PetsMart Charities in helping find homes for shelter pets. One of the most interesting features of their website is that you can help fund shelters by donating about 70 cents a day. While every adoption website wants to empty the shelters as quickly as possible, this one is doing what it can to help take care of the animals while they wait for their forever home.
Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center is one of the oldest in Long Island, New York. It sits on six wooded acres and also houses an animal sanctuary. Their website does not have a pet search engine, but has a personalized set of photographs for you to review. The dog and cat pages are filled with beautiful pictures of pets waiting to be adopted. Click on a picture and you will get a glimpse of their personality and how they got to the rescue. You can donate through Paypal to help support a particular animal or schedule a personal visit.
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals) is a major organization in the United States that is committed to educating the public about population control (spay-neuter) and hosts the Animal Poison Control Center. If you are interested in adoptions, of course they have a user-friendly search engine for their NYC Shelter or your local shelter, throughout the United States.
If you live in the greater Houston, Texas area, CAP is the place to go! They provide fostering, shelter, spay/neuter, veterinary care and public education. You can search their website for dogs, cats and small mammals. They also make it very easy to find their adoption fee schedule and requirements for adoption. It is recommended to review their requirements before you make a search for your next furrr-ever companion!
10. The Humane Society of the United States
The HSUS has affiliated shelters across the country and while it does not feature a specific search engine, it recommends using the Shelter Pet Project website for your search. What it does offer for those thinking about adopting a pet is education on adoption basics. Click on their links and you won’t be disappointed!
The Bottom Line
Each of these websites provides a great service for those homeless pets in need. These websites may have similar features, but they are not all the same. Take a look on several of them, as many pets are listed with only one or two websites. Once you have found pets you are interested in, take the next step and contact the rescue group or shelter directly. They will be able to guide you from there.
Somewhere out there, a lucky pet is waiting for you, so start your search today!
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