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Are you ready to add a new furry family member to your pack but aren’t sure where to start? Or, maybe it’s something you’re thinking about for the future. Whenever you’re ready to welcome a new cat or dog home, we’re sharing everything you need to know about pet adoption!

Benefits of Adopting a Pet

Stella and Chewy, the inspirations for our brand, were both rescued. This led to our ongoing passion to support pet adoption and the great work shelters and rescues do through our Journey Home Fund. There are endless benefits to choosing adoption besides simply finding your best friend, including:

You Save Lives

woman holding adopted puppy

According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million pets enter shelters each year in the United States. You can make a difference by adopting a cat or dog, not only saving their life, but the life of an animal that can take their place in the open cage

You Save Money

Not only is the cost of adopting a pet much less than if you were to purchase from a breeder or pet store, but most animals come vetted. This means that they’ve already had their exam, vaccines, and have been spayed or neutered, saving you all of those veterinary costs!

The Pet May Be More Well-Behaved

An animal that ends up at a shelter may have previously been in a home and already be housebroken or trained. 80% of shelter dogs are also mixed breeds which means diverse genetics and potentially a more relaxed nature. Read more about what makes mixed breeds great.

How Do I Find Adoptable Pets?

So, you’ve decided that you’d like to adopt a pet. What now? The first step is knowing how and where to find adoptable cats or dogs and what resources and facilities are near you.

Animal Shelter

Each city or county has an animal control facility and, most likely, a physical animal shelter. Find out what shelters exist in your area through friends, family, social media, Internet searches, etc. Many shelters have daily visiting hours where you can walk in and view the animals looking for their forever homes. You can also view adoptable pets on the shelter’s website or social media pages.

Animal Rescue

While the terms “rescue” and “shelter” can mean and do the same thing, we are using the term “Animal Rescue” to refer to a non-profit animal organization, typically run by volunteers, that is not funded by the government. Many of these rescues are primarily foster-based, meaning that they don’t have a physical facility to visit and instead keep their animals in foster homes until adoption. This is a great option as you will already know the animal’s routine and behavior in a home environment. Just like with an animal shelter, use your personal network, social media, and the Internet to search animal rescue options near you and learn more about the cats and dogs they have available for adoption.

Online Pet Adoption Website

The Internet continues to be a powerful tool and is no exception when it comes to adopting your new best friend! There are many different options of online adoption websites that offer the ability to search for adoptable pets by location, species, breed, age, and more. This is a simple way to really narrow your search down and happen upon the perfect cat or dog for you. Each pet will have their own profile with things like photos, bios, information about current health and veterinary status, and more. Websites include PetfinderAdopt-a-PetPetangoRescue Me, and the ASPCA.

How Do I Help My Rescue Pet Adjust?

Now, you’ve found the perfect pet for you! What can you expect when you bring your adopted pet home? Here are some tips for making your cat or dog feel at home:

Ease Into A Routine

It’s important to allow your newly adopted pet to slowly get used to your home and your own daily routine. Make sure they know where food and water dishes are, where their bed or sleeping spot is, and where the litter box is (for cats). Be consistent on timing of meals and potty breaks and consider confining your new pet to one room or smaller area at first as they might get confused having the run of the home without guidance.

Be Patient

While it can be incredibly exciting to welcome a new pet into your home, it can be a scary and overwhelming change for the cat or dog. Let them explore and settle in at their own pace and give them time to decompress. Remember, it’s a big transition for them being brought into an unfamiliar place with new people and some pets need a longer adjustment than others. They may hide, become shy or refuse to eat at first. These things are all normal in the first few hours or days (always take your new pet to the vet if you are concerned by their behavior or suspect a health condition causing these actions). Patience and understanding are key in pet adoption and they need to be able to acclimate to a new home at their own pace.

Build Trust

Depending on the cat or dog, it may take longer to form a bond depending on how confident and outgoing they are. Let your pet sleep with items of clothing to get used to your scent, talk to them regularly, have regular playtime or go on walks, and reward them with treats and affection. All of these things will help strengthen your relationship.

Feed Proper Nutrition

The transition to both a new environment and a new diet can cause an upset stomach. Make sure to start off right with quality nutrition that provides your newly adopted cat or dog with all of the nutrients they need. Stella & Chewy’s cat kibble and Raw Coated and Raw Blend Kibble for dogs offer premium dry food nutrition with added probiotics to support optimal digestion and gut health. Our frozen and freeze-dried raw diets for cats and frozen and freeze-dried raw diets for dogs are also a great option to help your new pet thrive with awesome raw nutrition.

We wish you well on your pet adoption journey and hope that you find your new best friend! Save $5 on Stella & Chewy’s by telling us more about your pet.