Ready to adopt your new fur baby? Great! But where is the best place to find a shelter dog or cat? And how much is it to adopt a pet in Atlanta?
Where Can I Find Puppies in My Area?
If you're ready to become the pet parent of a new puppy—or kitten—you've come to the right place! This new journey will be full of tremendous ups and downs. But all of the added responsibilities and learning curves will be completely worth it when you bond with your new furry companion. Dogs are such relational creatures, and they crave to be a part of a family—a pack. Your new puppy will quickly become your new best friend and fur baby.
If you're wondering where to start your search, we can help with that! There are plenty of Atlanta animal shelters and rescues, the Atlanta Humane Society, and even online websites to help you search for specific breeds, genders, and ages of shelter dogs near you.
Why Adopt a Dog in Atlanta?
Although you could purchase a dog through a reputable breeder, we urge you to consider adopting first. "Adopting a dog or cat" means you are choosing to rescue a typically mixed breed pet from an animal shelter, rescue, or humane society, rather than paying a breeder to intentionally breed a new purebred pet.
Not only are these shelter dogs and cats less expensive than a purebred pet, but they are also already alive and awaiting a new home and family.
According to the ASPCA, a study done by the Shelter Animals Count organization in 2019 showed that "approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year." And of those 6.3 million pets, only "4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year."
Although it's exciting to see just how many companion animals—dogs and cats—are adopted each year, it is sad to think about the millions who aren't.
And don't forget that mixed breed animals could be healthier because they aren't breeding the same hereditary diseases into those purebreds repeatedly. This doesn't mean that your mixed breed pet won't ever get sick or that a purebred will. It simply gives your mixed breed dog a better chance of breeding out those hereditary diseases.
And when you adopt a dog or cat from the shelter, you get to choose from various breeds and personalities. Whether you're looking for a friend who is small or large, old or young, active or passive, there's a pet waiting at the shelter just for you! And the joy you'll see on your new pet's face will be overwhelming when you lovingly take them into your home.
Where Is the Best Place To Find a Shelter Dog in Atlanta?
Thankfully, there are tons of great animal rescues and shelters in Atlanta, GA. Plus, there is an Atlanta Humane Society in town. They provide pet adoption services and a veterinary center and even offer resources to help pet parents care for their fur babies.
These places can help you find the new dog or cat you're looking for and answer any questions you may have to get you started. Just make sure to do your own research about each. Or even ask a local veterinarian for their advice on choosing a location to adopt from.
Atlanta Humane Society, Animal Rescues & Animal Shelters
These are all physical locations of shelters and rescues in and around Atlanta, GA, where you can adopt your new dog or cat. You can call ahead, check out their websites for information, or pop in to see what animal adoption is all about.
- Atlanta Humane Society
- Atlanta Lab Rescue
- Best Friends in Atlanta
- Canine Cellmates
- DeKalb County Animal Services
- Fulton County Animal Services
- Georgia Homeless Pets Animal Rescue
- LifeLine Pets for Life
- PAWS Atlanta
- Southern Animal Volunteer Effort
Pet Adoption Websites
These online pet adoption sites will help you filter through all the available pets to adopt in and around Atlanta. You'll be able to add in any specifics you're looking for, like the species, gender, age range, or breed mix. You can even specifically search for dogs that are good with other dogs, cats, or children.
These tools will help you narrow down your search and get a little insider information about each pet before meeting them. Which, in the end, will help you make the best choice possible for you and your new pet.
How Much Is It To Adopt a Dog in Atlanta?
You may be wondering how much it costs to adopt a pet in Atlanta, GA. And you may even wonder why there's a cost.
The whole point of adoption fees is to help cover some of the animal shelter or rescue expenses, plus things like your new dog's spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchipping, medical exams, etc.
The exact cost for adopting a dog or cat will depend on where you choose to adopt from. Although these aren't the prices for every adoption services location, here are a few examples of costs. These can (and do) change over time, so be sure to contact your rescue for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
- LifeLine Pets for Life has an adoption fee of $85 for dogs and $65 for cats. But if you're adopting a pet over seven years of age, or you—the adopter—are over 55 years of age, you only have to pay $40.
- Atlanta Humane Society charges $75 - $150 for cats and $200 - $352 for dogs. The prices are higher for the younger pets and lower for the older pets.
- PAWS Atlanta charges $175 - $275 for dogs, and $100 - $150 for cats. These prices are also based on the pet's age.
- Best Friends Atlanta charges $50 - $100 for dogs, and $25 - $50 for cats, depending on their age.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Adopt a Dog?
The minimum age to adopt a dog or cat in Atlanta or anywhere in the U.S. is 18. You have to be a legal adult because you are taking responsibility for an animal's life and wellbeing. And remember, animal shelters and rescues will require that you show an up-to-date I.D. when you decide to adopt.
How Does Dog Adoption Work?
You can do your own research about the available dogs and cats ahead of time online, or you can show up at an animal shelter or rescue to see the pets in person. Some places will have you go through an interview process first. Others will have one of the shelter's employees chat with you to see what type of dog or cat you're looking for.
Once you've picked out your new fur baby and paid for their fees, you can take them home. The fees typically cover your pet's spay or neuter surgery and vaccinations.
But sometimes, the cat or dog hasn't received those yet. So the fees you pay to adopt them can cover the cost of you taking your pet to a vet for those initial vaccinations and surgery. Just make sure to check with the animal shelter or rescue while you're there.
Is Petland a Puppy Mill?
Please be aware of places like Petland. The Humane Society of the United States says that Petland is the "only national pet store chain in the United States that still sells puppies, [and] Petland is also the largest retailer of puppy mill dogs. While Petland claims their puppies come only from reputable breeders and are in good health, our investigations have proven otherwise."
Dogs from puppy mills usually are not adequately taken care of and don't receive adequate nutrition, exercise, or health care. They are typically locked up most or all of the time, and their physical illnesses and needs can be ignored.
The dogs at puppy mills who are bred are often overworked, and it's common for inbreeding to happen. They are then often sold at places like Craigslist, flea markets, or pet stores like Petland.
Sadly, purchasing one of these pets only further supports these inhumane practices. Instead, if you know of any puppy mills, you can report them here. Once these puppy mills close, these poor pups can be properly distributed to local animal shelters that will responsibly take care of them, and find them new, healthy homes.
Adopt a Pet in Atlanta, GA Today
Make sure to choose only responsible and ethical animal shelters, rescues, and humane societies that care about the health and wellbeing of each and every dog and cat that come through their doors. Your new little fur baby is ready and waiting for you… so what are you waiting for? Become a pet parent today! If you need any suggestions on great dog parks in Atlanta or a fun, dog-friendly eatery, we've got those suggestions too!
For more great articles about dog-friendly activities and pet-parenting advice, check out the Blog at LocalPetCare.com.