How to adopt a dog online

AAdopting a dog can be an overwhelming process, especially if you do it online.

There’s some research to be done (which dog adoption sites are legit? What race work best for your household?), paperwork to complete and budgets to consider. But at the end of it all, you’ll have a loyal furry friend in your life – so stick with it.

Adopting an animal has many advantages. The costs are lower than buying a pet and the reward is greater: according to the ASPCA, approximately 13% of dogs that end up in shelters are euthanized.

Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of adopting a dog online, and some tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

How to adopt a dog online

Online adoption process

Adopting a dog is a complicated process, and doing it online can be even more so.

We’ve put together the information you need to make your preparation and the online adoption process easier.

Do your research

Before you start browsing the pictures of available puppies, think about what kind of life you can provide for a dog (and not the other way around). For example, if your heart is set on a large, energetic breed – like an Australian Cattle Dog or a Golden Retriever – you’ll want to make sure you have enough outdoor space and a sturdy fence around your yard.

If you have an HOA or landlord, you’ll also need to find out if they even allow dogs in the first place, or if they have breed restrictions.

Search for shelters online

There are several online resources for finding your new best friend.

National pet adoption organizations — for example, the Humane Society and the ASPCA — have websites that let you browse all of the adoptable pets in their care. These non-profit adoption centers are usually run by volunteers.

Rescues, on the other hand, are smaller networks – usually made up of private citizens – which have well-defined goals such as rescuing specific breeds of dogs or rescuing dogs from abusive situations such as dog fighting or being trafficked for the meat trade. Rescue foster dogs and other pets until they are placed in their forever homes.

Online databases (such as Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet) and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are great ways to find adoptable pets at shelters and shelters, as well as people. who are looking to relocate their own pets.

Because of this wide variety of options designed to help you find a pet, adoption processes may vary. There are usually two parts, with the initial search and communication of applications taking place online, followed by an in-person meeting.

In some cases, you can actually adopt a dog through an entirely virtual process and have your pet shipped to your home. This is often done by shelter volunteers who are trained to safely transport rescued animals across the country to new pet owners.

But beware: pet scams are becoming quite common. These can involve scammers posing as shelters on scam websites and tricking the victim into paying adoption fees or shipping fees for non-existent dogs.

And even if you’re adopting from a legitimate site, it’s always worth meeting your new dog and getting a feel for his personality before bringing him home.

Fill out an application

The next step in the adoption process is to complete an application, which can often be done online. Whether you apply online or in person, you will need to provide the shelter with valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

These apps can be quite complex, as the goal is to ensure that your future pup ends up in a loving home, with an adoptive parent who is committed to their well-being – for the long term. Expect to answer questions about your job, home, family members, and any other pets you may have.

Don’t be put off by long questionnaires: although time-consuming, they are often a sign that you are adopting a legitimate and responsible organization.

Schedule a home visit

Rescue organizations tend to be stricter in their adoption process than shelters and usually require one or more home visits in addition to an application. During these visits, emergency personnel can check the overall safety of your home and point out potential dangers.

Pay adoption fees

Adoption fees can vary greatly depending on the shelter you are adopting from, the state you live in, and the age and size of the dog. Most fees include initial health costs like vaccines, sterilization surgeries and microchipping.

A quick search of various Humane Society databases across the country shows that adoption fees for purebred puppies and dogs can range between $290 and $500. Older dogs and mixed breeds, on the other hand, cost between $190 and $400.

Requirements to adopt a dog from an online shelter

Here are some of the requirements you will need to meet before bringing your furball home.

Necessary documents

When adopting a dog online, you may need to provide some of the following documents depending on the adoption agreement.

  • Proof of identity and age: You will need to show your driver’s license, ID card, passport or other government legal ID. (The minimum age for online adoption is 18 or 21, depending on the state.)
  • Proof of ownership of the accommodation or rental contract
  • Personal references of people who can attest to your personality
  • The health records of your current pets

In return, you can also expect to receive from the shelter, shelter or breeder:

  • A adoption contract or sales contract
  • Your pet’s medical history and health certificates
  • Chip Information

Adoption Counselor

Some shelters require an interview with a counselor to discuss the adoption process and help facilitate a good match. More than one meeting may be required, so expect to spend time on this process.

Additional Adoption Aspects to Consider

If you’re a new dog owner, you’ll need several amenities to get started: crates, bedding, toys, and treats. If your lifestyle involves frequent travel, you will also need to find a reputable kennel or dog sitter.

Also, keep in mind that the cost of your dog’s medical needs can be high. If you’re ready to adopt, now is a good time to learn more about what pet insurance covers and pet dental insurance.

Here are some of the most common costs associated with owning a pet:

pet food

However, the cost of dog food can vary greatly depending on the size of your pooch and the quality of food you purchase. You can choose dry food, wet food, and fresh or raw food. There are even dog food home delivery services. In general, the average dog owner spends about $300 a year on dog food, ASPCA reports.

Behavioral training

Behavioral training can help your dog adjust to his new environment and make life easier for both of you. There are individual and group lessons available at local pet stores and by private trainers, and the cost can range from $40 to $250 per session. Additionally, if your dog shows signs of stress or trauma, animal therapy is also a great option.

Castration and sterilization

Sterilization surgery is a very common procedure. It is important for population control and can protect your pet against health problems later in life, such as cancer and incontinence.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAH)You should wait until your dog is at least six months old to spay them if they are a smaller breed (those likely to stay under 45 pounds) and nine to fifteen months for larger breeds. The price for this surgery can range from $150 to $300, although it is often included in your adoption fees (so be sure to inquire beforehand).


Microchipping is also highly recommended by most veterinarians. This quick procedure involves inserting a small device (no bigger than a grain of rice) under the dog’s skin. The implanted chip is programmed to display your phone, name and home address; if your dog ever gets lost, a veterinary office or shelter can scan the chip and let you know your dog’s location.

Veterinary care

Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies in most states. Veterinary professionals also strongly recommend vaccines against parvovirus, distemper, and canine hepatitis. The total cost of these shots can vary between $80 and $250 per year.

Other common canine medical expenses can quickly add up. Flea and heartworm medication, for example, can cost up to $120 for a six-month supply, and the recommended annual dental cleaning can cost an average of $350 to $500.

How to Adopt a Dog FAQ Online

How long does it take to adopt a dog online?

Where can I adopt a special mixed breed dog online?

Is it better to adopt a dog online or in person?

While it’s convenient to start the adoption process online, it’s best to follow up with an in-person visit. It’s important to let every member of your household meet the dog you’re considering adopting and make sure his temperament suits you all.

It’s often a good idea to start your search by visiting a local shelter and looking at the dogs available in your area. However, if you are looking for a very specific type of dog – perhaps due to allergies or strong preferences for a certain breed – then online will be the best bet.

Summary of Money’s How to Adopt a Dog Online

  • The process of adopting a dog online is much easier when you do your research beforehand.
  • Application requirements and fees vary widely from shelter to shelter (and rescue to rescue).
  • Many additional costs are to be taken into account, such as veterinary care.
  • For more information on how to find the right dog for you, read the best place to adopt a dog in your state.

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