Pet Adoption Information

Palo Alto Animal Services has provided quality shelter for stray and unwanted animals at our facility since 1973. We also run a highly-regarded, low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic. Our adoption program aims to ensure that our adoptable animals are placed in permanent, responsible, loving homes. Your cooperation during the adoption process helps result in a good match for both you and the pet.

Click HERE to look at a list of our adoptable pets
(list updated every 30 minutes)

How to Adopt...

  • All adoptions are done on site at our location in Palo Alto, CA
  • Adoptions are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis. 24 hour holds can be placed on an animal along with a $25 non-refundable fee that will go towards the adoption fee if completed. Inquire with staff for more information.
  • Come to the shelter and take your time getting to know the animal you wish to adopt. The pet you choose should be your pet for the rest of its life, so spend the time necessary to make the right choice. Our volunteers and staff are happy to assist you in taking a dog out of the kennels or socializing with a cat in the cat room.
  • Check the animals profile or kennel card. Information including the animal's age, sex, and breed is shown on this card. Our kennel staff or volunteers may be able to give you insight into an animal's disposition. Ask if the animal you are interested in has a behavioral evaluation or a pet personality profile. These profiles offer pertinent background information to help you gain better understanding of the dog or cat you are considering adopting.
  • We encourage each person in your household to get acquainted with an animal before it becomes a new member of your family, and require all members of the household meet the animal at some point before adoption.
  • If you are interested in adopting a dog, we also require you bring any current dog(s) to our shelter for an introduction to the new dog prior to adoption to form some ideas about their compatibility.
  • If you rent your home, please bring proof (lease, CC&R, etc...) that you are allowed to have a pet where you live.
  • Our shelter is open Monday - Saturday (closed holidays & alternate Fridays) from 11:00am - 5:30pm. But in order to complete the adoption process, it is necessary to begin the adoption process by 4:30pm.
  • The following printable application forms can be downloaded by clicking in the links below. It is not required, but you can bring them with you to save time. We do not accept applications in advance or store them for future use. 

Dog Adoption Application
Cat Adoption Application
Rabbit/Small Animal  Adoption Application
Bird or Reptile Adoption Application

When you have chosen the animal you wish to adopt
Please fill out an adoption application, available in the lobby. An adoption counselor will review your application and address any concerns you might have about pet care and related issues. By answering the questions on the application as thoughtfully as possible, you help best match what you want with the needs of the animals in our care. Please understand that we reserve the right to deny the adoption of any animal. In some situations, a home inspection might be necessary to ensure your home and yard are secure and safe for the new pet. We offer gift certificates that can be applied toward adoption fees or pet supplies.

Adoption Fees
Dog: $125.00
Cat: $125.00
Rabbit: $43.00 
Cockatiels: $27.00
Parakeets, Chickens, pigeons and doves: $5.00
Rats, hamsters, rats and mice: $5.00 
Adoption Hold Fee: $25.00
Adoption fees for other animals are determined by the Superintendent
Prices effective 8/01/2012

With dog, cat and rabbit adoptions, your animal receives:

  • Spay/Neutering
  • Microchipping
  • Free health exam with local veterinarian of your choice
  • Initial vaccinations (4-in-1 for cats, 5-in-1 for dogs), plus a vaccination information sheet
  • Cats and dogs receive identification tags and collars

Introducing new pets to established ones

When you bring home a new animal, other animal members of your family might feel upset, unless you take certain precautions to prepare them. Careful planning can prevent or minimize problems.

  • Among animals of the same species, opposite sexes are more likely to get along. Same-sex combinations can work, if you are careful to choose an animal with a compatible temperament.
  • Give the animals time to work out their own relationship under your supervision.
  • During the adjustment period, give special reassurance to the pet that was there first.

Ever wonder what breed of dog you have?

Ever wonder what breed your dog is, but don't want to pay for the cost of expensive genetic testing? There is a new iPhone app that can help...

Developed by a new friend of the shelter, is a simple tool that allows you identify any breed of dog. All you need to do is open the app, point your phone at the dog or picture of the dog (make sure the dog is in camera view), and wait. Right there, the app begins to “think” and analyze. And in a matter of seconds, the app tells you what that dog’s breed is. It will get more accurate the more you use it.

(this app is not sponsored or endorsed by Palo Alto Animal Services. It costs nothing to use and does not offer ads that would benefit the publisher or the City of Palo Alto)
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2017