Where to Adopt a Dog, Cat, or Pet in Raleigh, NC

Ready to adopt a pet in Raleigh, NC? We're here to help! Check out our list of the top places to adopt a dog, cat, or pet in Raleigh and what to expect!

Adopting a new pet into your home is an amazing experience, but getting started can be a little nerve-wracking. If you're looking for the best and safest places to adopt a pet in Raleigh, we can help show you the way! Plus, there are some other things you'll want to know ahead of time, such as the adoption process and what to expect for adoption fees.

Adopting a pet from a shelter is a great way to give an animal a second chance and provide them with a loving home. So let's get your adoption journey started today.

Raleigh NC Dog Swimming

What Do You Need to Adopt a Pet in Raleigh, NC?

To adopt a pet from an animal shelter or rescue in Raleigh, you will need to meet specific requirements. Every shelter is different, but this can include things like providing proof of identification, filling out an adoption application, answering a questionnaire, and possibly undergoing a home visit.

Since the requirements will vary from one shelter to another, it's essential to check with the specific shelter you are interested in. Here are the typical conditions for you to adopt a pet from most animal shelters and rescues.

  • Age minimum to adopt

To adopt a pet from a shelter, you must meet the age requirement set by the specific shelter. This may vary, but you will typically need to be 18 years or older. Although some shelters may require you to be 21 or even 25 years or older. You will also need to present a valid ID when adopting.

  • Fill out the online application

Before you can begin the adoption process, you usually must fill out an online application on the animal shelter's website. This application will ask for your contact information and may also inquire about your home situation, experience with pets, pet-parenting style, and the size of your home and yard. This information is used to ensure that you are ready to care for a pet and to help ensure the safety and well-being of the animal.

  • Cost of adoption fees

There is a cost to adopt a pet from a shelter. This fee covers the expenses associated with housing, feeding, and caring for the animal, including staffing, insurance, mortgage, utilities, and medical care. The fee you pay may seem high, but it is significantly less than the actual cost of caring for the animal until it is adopted. Non-profit shelters and rescues often rely on volunteers and donors to help cover these costs.

  • Have a "meet and greet"

Before adopting a pet, you may be required to participate in a "meet and greet" with the animal. This allows you to interact with the pet and see how you get along. It is also helpful to bring any family members or current pets you have to the meet and greet.

  • Home visit

In some cases, the shelter or rescue may also require a home visit to ensure that your home is suitable for a pet. This step helps to prevent any pet returns to the shelter in the future.

Raleigh NC Skyline at Dusk

Cost to Adopt a Pet from an Animal Shelter in Raleigh, NC

The fees for adopting a pet from a shelter in Raleigh, NC, may include the cost of spaying or neutering the animal, any necessary medical treatments, and the cost of microchipping. Some shelters offer reduced fees for certain groups, such as senior citizens or military personnel, and may also have discounted prices for senior pets, pets who have been at the shelter for an extended period, or for adopting multiple pets at once.

The adoption fees at Raleigh animal shelters vary, so it is critical to check with the specific shelter you are interested in to get the most accurate pricing information. Remember that it is always a good idea to inquire about adoption fees before falling in love with a particular pet.

Saving Grace

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: $395

Second Chance Pet Adoptions

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Adult dog ( 1 year or older): $325
  • Puppy (up to 1 year old): $350

Kittens and adult cats

  • Adult cat (1 year or older): $100
  • 2 adult cats (1 year or older): $180
  • Kitten (up to 1 year old): $130
  • 1 kitten (up to 1 year old) + 1 adult cat ( 1 year or older): $200
  • 2 kittens (up to 1 year old): $220
Raleigh NC Cat on Furry Rug

SPCA of Wake County

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Adult dog (7 months and older): $95.00
  • Puppy (6 months and younger): $300.00

Kittens and adult cats

  • Adult cat (7 months and older): $45.00
  • Kitten (6 months and younger): $150.00


  • Bunny: $35.00
  • Guinea pig: $15.00

Freedom Ride Rescue

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 6 months old): $325
  • Adult dogs (6 months to 8 years old): $275
  • Adult dogs (over 8 years old): $175

Wake County Pet Adoptions

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: $95
  • Dogs with stays over 2 weeks: $25

Kittens and adult cats

  • Cats (under 5 years old): $45
  • Cats (5 years or older): $15
  • Cats with stays over 2 weeks: "Name Your Price"
  • Cats over 3 years old who are adopted by seniors (60 years+): $10


  • Birds (small): $10
  • Birds (large): $50
  • Chickens: $5
  • Chinchillas: $45
  • Ferrets: $45
  • Guinea Pigs: $15
  • Hedgehogs: $45
  • Rabbits: $20
  • Rodents (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils): $10
  • Small Farm Animals (pig, goat, sheep): $25
  • Large Farm Animals (cow, llama, alpaca): $100
  • Horses: $500

*Military discount (active and inactive duty with military ID): $10 off

Raleigh NC Dog at Adoption Event

Where is the Best Place to Adopt a Pet in Raleigh, NC?

There are several places in Raleigh where you can adopt a pet from an animal shelter. You'll find humane societies, government-funded organizations, animal shelters, and animal rescues. See below some of the most popular, reputable places to adopt a pet in Raleigh, NC. No matter which place you choose, many loving dogs, cats, and more are ready for their new forever home.

Saving Grace

Saving Grace is a non-profit animal rescue and shelter with a spay and neuter clinic, adoption services, and foster care. They have helped over 30,000 animals find new homes since 2004. "Saving Grace is operated in majority by a hardworking and dedicated volunteer and foster base. This team is dedicated to finding an ever-changing but always special group of dogs an equally special family like yours."

Second Chance Pet Adoptions

Second Chance Pet Adoptions is the oldest no-kill rescue animal shelter and non-profit organization in Wake County. "At Second Chance, our mission is to champion homeless cats and dogs who are healthy or treatable in the quest to find their forever homes and engage with our community to promote responsible pet ownership–ultimately reducing future generations of homeless animals."

Cause for Paws of North Carolina

Cause for Paws of North Carolina is a unique organization that focuses on rescuing dogs and cats from high-kill shelters. They provide foster care and adoption services, aiming to give these animals a second chance at life. What sets them apart is their thrift store, where proceeds go directly to supporting the rescue efforts. They also offer low-cost spay/neuter programs to the community, helping to reduce the number of unwanted pets. Their dedication to education about responsible pet ownership makes them a pillar in the Raleigh area.

In addition to their rescue operations, Cause for Paws offers a variety of services including a pet food pantry for those in need. They stand out by not only caring for animals but also supporting pet owners in the community. Their active involvement in local events and strong social media presence helps raise awareness and funds for their cause. You can find more information and get involved through their website or follow them on social media to stay updated on their work.

SPCA of Wake County

"The SPCA of Wake County (SPCA Wake) helps pets and people in over half of the counties across NC through collaborative partnerships." This organization has been running with the help of generous donors and volunteers for over 55 years. It is a non-profit organization that strives to provide "comprehensive support services to companion animals in need with sheltering, care and adoption services."

Freedom Ride Rescue

"Freedom Ride Rescue brings together individuals who share a love for dogs and a dream to see a no-kill state." They use a foster-based network to house and care for dog breeds of all ages, sizes, and breed mixes. They help rehabilitate animals and provide medical care, behavioral training, and plenty of love until they find their forever homes.

Wake County Pet Adoptions

Wake County pet adoptions is a government-funded animal shelter and rescue. They take in homeless and abandoned pets and owner-surrendered pets. And they work to find new, loving homes for cats, dogs, other small animals, and even farm animals.

Carolina Animal Rescue & Adoption

Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption is a non-profit, volunteer organization that relies on donations and fundraising to provide services for the animals in their care. They have a dedicated team of volunteers, board members, and supporters who help them accomplish their mission of promoting "responsible pet ownership through humane education, and [providing] shelter and care to domestic companion animals until a loving, responsible home can be found, or lost pets are reunited with their guardians."

Pawfect Match Rescue & Rehabilitation

Pawfect Match Rescue & Rehabilitation believes that every dog deserves a chance to live a happy and healthy life. They specialize in taking in dogs that are often overlooked, including those with medical needs or behavioral issues. By providing rehabilitation and training, they prepare these pups for their forever homes. Their commitment to matching the right dog with the right family makes them stand out in the Raleigh rescue community.

What's truly special about Pawfect Match is their holistic approach to rescue. They consider the emotional and physical well-being of each dog, ensuring they receive the necessary love and care. Volunteers work tirelessly to create a nurturing environment for the dogs while they await adoption. To learn more about their mission and see the dogs available for adoption.

PetFinder.com & AdoptAPet.com

In addition to these shelters, you may also be able to find pets for adoption through online resources such as Petfinder.com or AdoptAPet.com. You can view pictures of cats, dogs, and other small pets from numerous animal shelters and rescues nearby. And you can filter through the available pets to find what you're looking for based on species, gender, breed, size, age, and whether or not they are good with children and other pets.

Adopt a Pet in Raleigh, NC, today!

Now that you've seen just how many places there are to adopt a pet in Raleigh and you know the potential fees and requirements for adoption, it's time to start the search for your new fur baby!

At Local Pet Care, we're here to help you not only find the best places to adopt but also the best dog-friendly restaurants and the best dog parks and dog-friendly parks in Raleigh, NC. Plus, we'll help you find the best local pet care professionals right near your home. With all of these resources, you will be set up for pet-parenting success!

Find Local Pet Care in Raleigh NC

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

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