During your search for a new pet, you may have thought the hard part was choosing the type of companion, but finding your perfect pet can be equally difficult. Many places have pets to adopt—a stray pet may wander onto your doorstep and find you—but some places are best avoided when you look for your new furry, feathered, or scaled family member. Before heading out the door, read about the four options that our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team considers ideal for adopting a new pet.

#1: Pets at your local animal shelter

Many homeless pets are waiting in local animal shelters for a family who will take them home. And, shelters may house more than your typical cats and dogs—they also provide shelter for exotic pets, such as reptiles, birds, rabbits, and small rodents. When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re saving two lives—the pet you are adopting, and the pet who takes their space. Another benefit of a shelter pet adoption is knowing exactly whom you’re getting, unless you adopt a puppy or kitten. The majority of shelter pets are already adults, so you’ll know their size, temperament, and existing health problems. Adult pets have also likely undergone some obedience and house training, so they will require less work because they understand household rules. 

In some cases, a shelter will have more pets available who are being fostered by a family in their home, rather than being housed inside the shelter facility. If you don’t see the pet of the specific breed, size, or age you are looking for, check with the shelter staff about pets in their foster program who may be available.  

#2: Pets at breed-specific rescue organizations

If you’re searching for a particular breed, a breed-specific rescue is a great option. Again, many pets in breed rescues will be adults, but they may also have puppies and kittens who have been surrendered. Depending on the breed you’re looking for, finding a local breed rescue may be difficult, so consider traveling to find your perfect pet. Breed rescues are also wonderful information sources for learning a particular breed’s quirks before committing. Understanding the ins and outs of a specific breed’s grooming, training, feeding, and healthcare needs will help you make the best choice for your family’s lifestyle, and help minimize a potential poor fit. 

#3: Social media newsfeeds for pets in need

As you scroll through Facebook, are you inundated with posts about homeless pets? Passing by these posts and resisting all the pets who need a family is extremely tough, but these posts are an excellent way to find a new pet. Once you’ve decided on the pet who would be the best family fit, search through social media for homeless pets who meet your criteria. You can filter by location, unless you’re up for a road trip. 

#4: Pets from reputable breeders

If you have your heart set on your new pet being a particular breed, a reputable breeder may be the way to go. Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for with purebred pets, and breeders often reflect in their prices the time, effort, and care they put into the pets they breed. A good breeder will show you the parents’ health records, and discuss any predisposed genetic conditions of the breed. For example, a reputable German shepherd breeder will ensure their breeding dogs have been tested for orthopedic diseases, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. A good breeder will also be an excellent source of information, and willing to answer your questions, because they want their pets to go to the best home possible. Often, high-quality breeders will have a wait list for their pets, so you may have  to wait months for the perfect family pet.

Adopting a new pet to your family is exciting, but sometimes your pet may have a mishap in all the commotion of bringing them home. If your new pet becomes injured or ill during their transition, contact our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team for urgent care.