Find Your New Furry Best Friend on These Pet Adoption Websites

Photo credit: Westend61
Photo credit: Westend61

From Woman’s Day

Whether it’s a longing for companionship or extra time to kill, something about 2020 is making a lot of people consider getting a pet. Shelters, nonprofit rescues, private breeders, and pet stores have all seen a spike in demand for dogs since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Washington Post reported. Although you could always buy a pet at your local store or through a breeder, adopting a pet allows you to give a home to an otherwise unwanted animal. And the good news is there are plenty of pet adoption websites where you can find your new best friend, without having to physically go in to pick him or her out.

Regardless of what pet you may be looking for, there’s a site for all of them. You want a pet horse? Done. A bunny? Sure. A fish? Easy. These pet adoption websites have it all, with cats and dogs being the most common, of course.

1. Petfinder

Petfinder specializes in all kinds of pets, from the traditional dog and cat to barnyard buddies, like horses, bunnies, and pigs. You can filter your pet search by age, organization, and traits, and receive endless advice about training and grooming.

2. Adopt a Pet

This non-profit lists pets from more than 17,000 shelters and rescues across North America — it even has pets in Canada. Adopt a Pet’s website is very straight forward, making it easy for people who aren’t as technologically inclined. The site allows you to filter by location, age, and breed. If needed, you can even put your own pet up for adoption with its Rehome program.

Photo credit: sarahwolfephotography
Photo credit: sarahwolfephotography


The ASPCA is known for its tear-inducing commercials about abused dogs, but the organization doesn’t want to make you cry. It wants to help you find a furry friend. If you’re located in New York City or Los Angeles, you can use the ASPCA’s local adoption centers to find dogs and cats to adopt near those major cities. If you’re not near an ASPCA location, you can still use the site’s local shelter portal to find all the pets up for adoption in your area.

4. Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends first launched in Kanab, Utah, in the 1980s. Since then, it has expanded to major cities across the country, like Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. Best Friends’ mission is to “save them all” by ending all killings of homeless pets.

5. PetSmart Charities

Like most pet adoption websites, PetSmart Charities narrows your pet search down by zip code, breed, color, size, age, and sex. The organization lists pets from various shelters and rescues in your zip code. Once you find the one you’d like to adopt, you reach out to the specific shelter or rescue and begin the process with them directly. PetSmart Charities also features horses, farm animals, rabbits, and birds.

Photo credit: Victoria Penafiel
Photo credit: Victoria Penafiel

6. AKC Rescue Network

If you want to adopt a specific breed, the AKC Rescue Network is for you. It allows you to search rescue networks across the country for whichever breed you want, and then sends you to that rescue’s site — most of which will have an adoption option. Although it’s not the most direct site, it’s ideal if you want a specific breed but don’t want to go through a breeder.

7. The Shelter Pet Project

The Shelter Pet Project’s site is pretty minimal, but that’s not a bad thing. You can search as far as 200 miles beyond your zip code, which can feel limiting, but still provides you with plenty of pet options.

8. Rescue Me

Most adoption sites help you find cats and dogs. Some will help you find reptiles and farm animals. But Rescue Me goes even further and not only has countless pets up for adoption but also helps local animal rescues find wildlife to nurse back to health. Given the variety of animals available, Rescue Me requires future pet parents to narrow down their choice beforehand. Once you’ve decided on the type of pet you want to adopt, you can narrow your search down by state.

Photo credit: Ippei Naoi
Photo credit: Ippei Naoi

9. Petco Foundation

As with most adoption websites, the Petco Foundation give you the ability to filter your search by location, breed, color, size, age, and sex. Your local Petco also likely hosts adoption events with shelters or rescue groups in your area, if you prefer to select your furry friend in person.

10. Petango

Petango has partnered up with almost 2,000 welfare organizations across the U.S. ad Canada to offer its patrons real-time updates about pets. So, as long as you’re in North America, you can find all the pets in shelters near you. Think of it as a pet adoption aggregator.

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