Where to Adopt a Dog, Cat, or Pet in Phoenix, AZ

How do you get a dog? And how much does it cost to adopt a dog in Phoenix? We'll give you all the information you're looking for about where to adopt a pet.

How do you adopt a pet in Phoenix?

Adopting a cat or dog in Phoenix, AZ, is an easy process. But there are a few expectations and requirements. Each animal shelter, rescue, or humane society will have its own specifics, usually listed on its website. But below are some of the general guidelines you can expect to find when adopting a new pet.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older. Some animal shelters and rescues will require you to be older, like 21 or 25. But that should be listed on their website as well. And you'll be expected to show a current valid ID.

  • You'll have to pay the adoption fees. For pricing examples, check out the section about the cost to adopt a pet below.

  • Before adopting a cat or dog, you will do a "meet and greet" and spend a little time together to see if you and this pet would be a good match. It's helpful to bring the whole family along — including other pets you already have — to see how everyone interacts with each other.

  • Some rescues and shelters will require a home visit before you can adopt your new cat or dog to ensure your home is a suitable environment for taking care of your new pet.

Phoenix City Skyline at Dusk

How do I foster a dog in Phoenix?

There is quite a significant need for foster pet parents across the US, including in Phoenix, AZ. Each animal shelter, rescue, or humane society will have a section on their website about fostering needs, how to sign up, and what you can expect.

Although shelters try their best to make their pets comfortable and cared for, nothing is better for the cat or dog than staying in a real home with a real family. The Arizona Humane Society says, "When a pet needs extra recovery time or a family is facing a temporary crisis, we turn to our Foster Heroes. As a Foster Hero, you'll be giving a second chance to a pet in need while allowing us more space to save another pet who needs our help."

You will fill out an application on their website, check out the available foster pets, and then bring the pet home. This organization will be there to support you every step of the way while they continue to search for your foster pet's new forever home.

This can be a great way to test out what it's like to care for a cat or dog. Or to temporarily take care of an animal if you cannot keep one long-term.

Do you have to pay to rescue a dog?

Yes, as mentioned above, you do have to pay to adopt a dog from an animal shelter, rescue, or humane society. You might be wondering, "why?" Since you're the one doing the "rescuing." But everything in life costs money.

These shelters must pay a mortgage, utilities, building maintenance, and insurance to house your dog before adopting them. As well as the cost of your dog's food, supplies, staff to care for them, medications, vaccinations, vet visits, and your dog's spay or neuter surgery. Some shelters will even microchip your dog in case they ever get lost in the future. Plus, there is a cost to the government for you to license your dog when you decide to adopt them.

For pricing examples, keep reading below.

Phoenix Dog Laying in Grass

What is the most affordable way to adopt?

There is usually a price variation, depending on the type of pet you decide to adopt. Cats are generally less expensive than dogs. And younger pets are less costly than older pets. Some shelters will give an extra discount for "long-stay" dogs — meaning the ones who have been waiting at the shelter the longest.

Sometimes small dogs will be more expensive than large dogs. And you may even find discounts for adopters who are senior citizens or who have previously or are currently serving in the military.

Occasionally you'll see a price difference between purebred and mixed breed dogs. The mixed breeds will cost less — unless they are a "designer dog breed" like a labradoodle.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog in Phoenix, Arizona?

Below are some examples of the costs for different adoptable pets from a few animal shelters and rescues listed here. Keep in mind that the prices can vary quite a bit from shelter to shelter and can change over time. And if an organization doesn't have their pet adoption fee prices listed on their website — be sure to call ahead first. It's always best to know the details ahead of time.

Phoenix Cat Laying on Carpet

Maricopa County

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Under 5 months: $300

  • Small dogs under 30 lbs: $150

  • Large dogs: $50

Kittens and adult cats

  • Under 5 months: $150

  • Adult cats: $25

Discounted pets

  • Senior pets (6 years+): $25

  • Long-stay pets (30 days+): $25

  • Pets with immediate needs: $25

HALO Animal Rescue

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Prices range between waived fees up to $605

Kittens and adult cats

  • Prices range between waived fees up to $150

Underdog Rescue of AZ

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies: $250

  • Adult dogs: $200

*Some puppies under 6 months, purebred dogs, and designer breed dogs may have a higher than normal adoption fee.

Kittens and adult cats

  • All cats: $100

What is the best place to adopt a pet?

If you're ready to begin the search for your new fur baby, let's check out the best places to adopt a pet in Phoenix, AZ. Our list below comprises a few of the top reputable animal rescues, shelters, and humane societies. And we've added an online resource that will help you find all of the available pets across the United States.


PetFinder.com is a great place to search online for adoptable dogs and cats, and it's my personal favorite. This online resource helps you search for available pets all throughout the US.

You can use their filter system to search by the area you live in, the species you want, your favorite breed or breed mix, gender, age range, and whether or not this pet is good with children or other cats and dogs. They'll show you pictures of the pets and tell you which shelter this dog or cat is currently at, plus you'll find a little bio about each one.

Maricopa County

This government-run animal shelter tries to find new forever homes for homeless cats and dogs. They work with other organizations like the Bissell Pet Foundation to "Empty the Shelters" and help the national crisis of pet overpopulation in shelters. The Bissell Pet Foundation is currently paying for all adoption fees at the Maricopa County animal shelter for July 11-31, 2022. If you're seeing this after these dates… check their website frequently for other special discounts and waived fees.

Arizona Humane Society

The Arizona Humane Society's mission is "to save the most vulnerable animals and enrich the lives of pets and people." Their core values are innovation, compassion, and excellence. And they are passionate about having the most significant impact possible on their community and the lives of the animals they save.

HALO Animal Rescue

HALO stands for Helping Animals Live On. This no-kill facility helps save the lives of thousands of homeless dogs and cats every year. "We feel it is critical to continue to nurture relationships with other welfare agencies to create life-saving strategies so we can all fully utilize our available resources to save as many lives as possible."

Arizona Small Dog Rescue

The Arizona Small Dog Rescue is a nonprofit and no-kill facility. They "help shelter small dogs who have been abandoned, neglected, abused, or are unwanted." They take in hundreds of small dogs annually, shelter them, foster them, and help them find their new forever homes.

Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA

The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA strives to be "the community's leading source for pet adoptions, affordable veterinary services, volunteer opportunities, humane education, and expertise in animal welfare." They are a nonprofit and no-kill shelter. And they have rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed more than 4,000 pets — both dogs and cats — who have been abandoned or surrendered.

Underdog Rescue of AZ

The Underdog Rescue of AZ is a nonprofit and foster-based dog rescue. They are dedicated to re-homing dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages who are "in need, whether they were rescued from the euthanasia list, homeless, or abandoned." Their mission is to rehabilitate the "underdogs" like senior pets, bully breeds, and pets with medical issues.

Friends for Life Animal Rescue

The Friends for Life Animal Rescue was established in 1993. Within the first couple of years, they had already established their staff, board of directors, volunteers, and began "handling hundreds of adoptions per year." They became a sanctuary for animals. And required that any animals adopted from them must be returned to them if "for any reason the adoptive environment is not working out."

Almost There: A Mom + Pups Rescue

Almost There: A Mom + Pup Rescue specializes in saving the lives of "pregnant and nursing dogs and pups who need time and space to grow and become socialized." This organization intentionally socializes their dogs with other dogs, children, and adults to help prepare them for their future adoptive home.

Phoenix Dog Ready for Adoption

Become a pet parent today

Now that you have all the information needed to adopt a pet in Phoenix, what are you waiting for? Tons of amazing, loving pets are ready for their new forever home. And we'll be with you every step of the way.

At Local Pet Care, we're here to help you find the best places to adopt, the best dog-friendly restaurants and dog parks in Phoenix, and even to help you find the best local pet care professionals in your area. With all of these resources, you will be set up for pet parenting success!

Find Local Pet Care CTA Phoenix

For more great articles about dog-friendly activities and pet-parenting advice, check out the Blog at LocalPetCare.com.

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