Preparing to adopt

A cat, rabbit, and dog from AHS

Bringing a new pet home is an especially exciting event. We want all adopters (and their new pets) to have the best adoption experience possible! 

To help set you both up for success, consider these factors before adopting a pet.

Landlord approval

If you lease your home, check with your landlord before adopting to be sure you're allowed to have a pet and can afford any required pet deposits. If you need additional help finding pet-friendly housing, use our resource for conducting a successful house search

Pets are sometimes returned because of lease restrictions and/or landlord disapproval. This can be an expensive lesson — adoption fees are non-refundable. Plus, being returned to the shelter can be a stressful experience for the animal.

Other household members

Other members of your household should meet the pet and approve of you bringing a new pet home before you decide to adopt. You should also consider:

  • Allergies
  • Fear or discomfort associated with animals
  • Expectations in sharing pet care responsibilities

If you have children in the home, having a pet can be a wonderful experience, but it’s also important to understand how to foster this new relationship between your pet and your children.  

A happy dog being adopted at AHS


Consider the initial and on-going costs of a new pet. These costs may include:

AHS offers a variety of resources to help make affording a new pet easier, including low-cost veterinary care, vaccine clinics, and training programs. New adopters also receive discounts on pet supplies, training classes, and more. 

Other pets

We recommend that you don't immediately expose your existing pets to a new one. Consider how you'll manage an isolation period and be sure all existing pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and other routine health care before bringing a new pet home.

Need help introducing a new pet to your household?

Facilitating positive pet-to-pet introductions will require some management on your part too. Not all pets are instant friends and may require temporary or intermittent separation to ensure a smooth transition. 

Some pets are happy to share their home within a week or two, others may take a month or longer to adjust. Here are a few guides to help you navigate introducing your new pet to your resident pets:

Our adoption staff will be happy to review steps to properly introduce your new pet to your resident pets.

Time commitment

All dogs and cats making the transition to a new home will need time to adjust to a new family and may require housetraining and behavior training to correct problem behavior. 

If you aren’t prepared to invest time into teaching your new pet appropriate behavior and helping the animal adjust, you should not adopt a pet. Positive reinforcement-based training is recommended for all newly adopted dogs and puppies.

Dogs and cats may live 12 to 15 years or more, and providing them with basic needs (food, water, shelter), medical care, and loving attention is important until the very end. Your thoughtful consideration, preparation, and commitment will help ensure a happy home for your new pet.

With all of that said, being a pet parent doesn’t mean you need to be at home 24/7. Many pet parents work full-time, and there are lots of resources available to help your pet adjust to their alone time. Our staff are happy to offer tips and resources to help you make your transition to pet parenthood.

Pet supplies

Before bringing your dog, cat, or critter home, make sure you have the supplies to properly care for the newest member of your household. 

From toys and leashes to treats and litter pans, our adoption centers have a wide variety of merchandise available for purchase. Our knowledgeable staff can help you find the right products for your pet during the adoption interview process.

As a new pet adopter from AHS, you also receive 10% off your purchase of five or more items when you purchase your supplies with your adoption.

Are you ready to open your heart and home to a new pet?

A cat in an adoption box from AHS

Animal Humane Society has a variety of animals that are ready to be adopted into your family. 

View our list of animals available for adoption, or stop into one of our three shelter locations. You can also read Happy Tails stories from previous adoptions from AHS!