Where to Adopt a Pet in San Francisco

Ready for your new furry best friend? Great! We can help you find all the best places to adopt a pet in San Francisco, CA.

How do you get a dog in San Francisco?

If you're ready to adopt a new puppy or kitten into your home, we can help prepare you for what to expect and where to go. There are specific requirements for adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue. So let's make sure you are prepared when you arrive.

  1. Age minimum to adopt. You must be at least 18 years of age or older to adopt a pet. And some shelters or rescues will require the adopter to be at least 21 or 25 years of age. You will also need to bring a valid driver's license or ID and provide proof of your address. To find out the age requirements, you can check the shelter's website or call in before arrival.

  2. There will be adoption fees. It costs quite a bit for these shelters and rescues to care for all of their animals. Not only do they feed and shelter them, but they'll give your pup or cat medical care, vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, and sometimes they'll even microchip the pet in case they go missing in the future. For pricing examples, check out the section below about the cost of adopting a pet.

  3. Have a "meet and greet." Before adopting your new pet, you will typically do a "meet and greet" in person and spend a little time together. This will help you both see if you would be a good match for each other. It's also helpful to bring your whole family along — spouse, children, and even the other pets you have — to see how everyone gets along with each other.

  4. Home visit. Specific animal rescues and shelters will even require a home visit before you can adopt your new pet. This helps ensure that your family and home are suitable for taking care of your new cat or dog.

San Francisco Dogs Playing on Beach

How much does it cost to adopt a dog in San Francisco?

Each animal shelter and rescue will have slightly different adoption fees based on their financial needs to care for these pets. Check out the examples below to get a general idea of what to expect. And always call ahead or check out the website of the location where you want to adopt before arriving. This way, you'll know what you're getting into before you fall in love with your next furbaby.


Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 5 months): $400

  • Adult dogs: $0

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (under 5 months): $200

  • Adult cats: $0

*Prospective puppy adopters who take the online Puppy Parent Orientation and pass the quiz will receive 50% off your puppy adoption fees.

*San Francisco residents pay a $27 San Francisco dog license fee at the time of adoption.

San Francisco Adopted Cat

Family Dog Rescue

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies: $650

  • Adult dogs: $495

  • Rare or northern breed dog: $600+

SF Animal Care & Control

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 6 months): $258

  • Adult dogs: $218

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (under 6 months): $167

  • Adult cats: $135

Other animals

  • Birds, rabbits, and other small animals: $10-31

*Additional fees may apply.

East Bay SPCA

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 6 months): $200

  • Adult dogs: $125

  • Senior dogs (Club Second Chance): $50

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (under 6 months): $125

  • Adult cats: $75

  • Senior cats (Club Second Chance) : $40

Rocket Dog Rescue

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 6 months): $400

  • Adult dogs: $325

Berkeley Humane

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 7 months): $350

  • Adult dogs: $250

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (under 7 months): $200

  • Adult cats: $150

*Pets 7+ years old — or those who have been at the shelter longer than 30 days — are available for trial adoptions.

*Senior adopters who are 65+ years of age will receive 50% off their adoption fees if they choose to adopt a senior pet who is 7+ years old.

*Veterans who show a valid ID will have their adoption fees waived.

San Francisco Dog On Hill Near Water

Where is the best place to find pets in San Francisco?

There are numerous places to adopt a pet in San Francisco, and this list is just the beginning. There are animal shelters, rescues, and humane societies you can visit in person, as well as online search websites specifically designed to help you find all the adoptable pets in your area.

Make sure you've done your research ahead of time and checked out the reviews of the location you want to adopt from. Even though you'd like to trust that everyone has the best intentions, you also want to ensure that you're financially supporting an upstanding and reputable organization.

Check out the suggested places below to adopt a cat, dog, or other pet in San Francisco, CA.


PetFinder.com is a great place to search online for all of the adoptable pets in your surrounding area. You can filter through the pets to find the type of cat or dog you're looking for based on gender, breed or breed mix, size, age, and whether or not they are good with children and other pets.


"As the largest animal shelter in the SF Bay Area and the first cageless animal shelter established in the U.S., we are transforming the way pet guardians and their beloved furry family members access lifesaving resources." The San Francisco SPCA strives to ensure that all families can get the high-quality veterinary care that they and their pets deserve.

Family Dog Rescue

"From the underdogs of California's overcrowded municipal shelters to the street dogs of Mexico, Family Dog Rescue gives dogs in need a second chance." They save dogs of all kinds, including those with disabilities. And they not only work hard to care for and socialize the pups while they are at the rescue, but they continue to help provide resources to the families who adopt these dogs long after they have found their new forever homes.

San Francisco Dog Near Bridge

SF Animal Care & Control

The San Francisco Animal Care & Control is a government-funded organization with open admission to all animals, regardless of their species. They have been open since 1989, and the "SFACC has provided housing, care, and medical treatment to wild, exotic and domestic stray, lost, abandoned, sick, injured, and surrendered animals" ever since.

East Bay SPCA

The East Bay SPCA strives "to eliminate animal cruelty, neglect and overpopulation by providing programs and education that support people and companion animals." They have been committed to serving the welfare of cats and dogs — and the community they are in — since 1874.

Rocket Dog Rescue

Rocket Dog Rescue is a volunteer-based animal rescue organization "dedicated to saving homeless and abandoned dogs from overcrowded animal shelters. Rocket Dog Rescue uses temporary foster homes to help care for and socialize these dogs while they are getting the medical care they need. [They] also help dogs from other areas that have compelling situations where they are in danger of abuse, neglect or euthanasia."

Berkeley Humane

Berkeley Humane is a non-profit organization serving animals in the community for the last 125+ years. "Berkeley Humane serves the people and animals of [the] community by providing lifesaving programs for cats and dogs, cultivating compassion, and strengthening the human-animal bond." Their highest values are respect, care, and community.

Adopt a pet today!

Now that you know where to adopt, the cost of adoption, what is provided, and what to expect… All that's left to do is to pick out your new furry best friend! Your new cat or dog is ready and waiting for you, so start searching for that new furbaby.

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 San Francisco, 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 in San Francisco

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

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