Top Reasons to Adopt a Pet Rather Than Buy

If you're considering adding a new pet to the family, we urge you to adopt a pet rather than buying one from an online retailer or a pet store. The benefits of pet adoption are numerous. Here are just some of them.

Reasons to adopt a pet

  • By adopting a pet from an animal shelter or a rescue group, you ensure that you aren't supporting the inhumane commercial breeding facilities (e.g., puppy mills) that supply pet stores and sell pets online. 
  • You are doing your part to fight pet overpopulation and save the lives of homeless animals. Even if you adopt a pet from a no-kill organization, you are helping to rescue another homeless animal by making space available at the shelter.
  • You will save money because adoption costs less than buying an animal from a pet shop or a breeder.
  • Pet adoption offers the choice of pets of all ages. For instance, if you adopt a young adult or older pet, you can avoid some of the effort related to house-training and teething. Puppies and kittens are cute, but they require lots of attention, training, patience … and newspapers!
  • You can work with the adoption team to find a pet who fits well with your lifestyle and who will get along with any other residents in your home (humans or other animals). The team will also be there to help with questions or issues with your new pet, as they are invested in providing a good home for that animal.
  • You'll often receive information on your pet's history when you adopt. On the flip side, an animal purchased from a pet store is a complete unknown, and once you walk out of the store you are usually on your own when it comes to support if issues arise. 
  • You get just as much love (if not more). An adopted pet is every bit as loving, intelligent, and loyal as a purchased pet.

Where can I adopt a pet near me?

Ready to find your new best friend? You might already know of animal shelters and rescue organizations where you live. If not, here are a few suggestions to find a pet to adopt near you:

  • Try, the oldest and largest searchable online directory of animals available for adoption. Petfinder includes photos, videos, and descriptions of adoptable animals, shelter contact information, and classified listings.
  • The municipal animal services shelter or local humane society is a good place to start. If you don’t know where it is, call your local police department and ask for the name and location of the facility or organization that handles stray animals in your community. Shelters take in a wide variety of pets, including purebred animals, so you'll have plenty of options.
  • If your heart is set on a particular breed or species, there is probably a rescue group out there dedicated to taking in and rehoming that type of pet. To find breed rescue groups, search on Petfinder or do a Google search (type in your location, the breed you want, and the word "rescue").
  • Many animal rescue groups hold regular adoption days at pet supply stores. Most of the larger and more enlightened pet supply stores don't sell dogs and cats at all. Instead, they partner with the animal rescue community in promoting pet adoption. So check with stores near you to see whether they have any scheduled adoption events or adoptable pets housed at their location.

A note of caution: Some online classified websites have done the right thing by prohibiting ads for the sale of animals, but they do allow people to post ads to rehome or adopt out pets. If you respond to such an ad, ask whether you can visit the animal in their current home. You want to make sure that you are adopting from a rescuer or an individual attempting to rehome a pet rather than a breeder. If someone is “adopting out” several litters, has “more on the way,” and doesn’t seem to have adult animals in need as well, this person might be a breeder.

What else should I know about pet adoption?

Here's some key information to know to set you and your newly adopted pet up for success.

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Pet health

If you already have a pet at home, make sure that your new pet has a clean bill of health from a vet before exposing your other animals to any risk. Many rescue organizations will guarantee the health of your new pet and will see to it that the animal has been tested for any contagious diseases, received the necessary shots, and been spayed or neutered before you take your new pet home.


If your new pet is not already fixed, you’ll want to make sure to arrange for spay/neuter as soon as possible. Information about low-cost spay/neuter services in your area is available by dialing 1-800-248-SPAY or visiting

New pets and kids

A new pet in the house is an exciting event for youngsters, but don’t let their enthusiasm turn into problems. Being pulled from under the bed by eager little hands or being flopped on by a child is very distressing to most animals — especially for those in unfamiliar surroundings. Their only recourse might be to scratch, snap, or run. And these natural responses might land them back in the shelter, which is hardly fair. So teach children to respect animals as they would any other playmate. If their new pet doesn’t want to play for now, teach kids to leave them alone.

Animal behavior

While your new pet might turn out to be well-mannered from day one, it is more likely that they'll take a little while to adjust to new surroundings and routines. Be patient. Be positive. Yelling or hitting an animal to correct unacceptable behavior will only make matters worse. 

If your new kitty wants to hide under the bed for a few days until she feels safe, that’s OK. Just make sure she has food, water, and a litter box. Moreover, behaviors like chewing, digging, and separation anxiety are just as common in dogs who come from a pet store or breeder as they are in adopted pups. Most behavior problems can be straightened out with patient and consistent training. And the more comfort and gentle guidance you provide your new pet, the stronger your bond will become.

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Be our Best Friend

Best Friends Animal Society is working with you to save the lives of cats and dogs all across the country, giving pets second chances and happy homes.

Just a few short years ago, cats and dogs were killed in staggering numbers in this country simply because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources to save their lives. That number is now less that half a million per year, but there's still work to do to ensure a bright future for every dog and cat in America.

Best Friends operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets by working with shelters and passionate people like you. Together, we will bring the whole country to no-kill in 2025. Together, we will Save Them All.