Adopting a Dog From a Shelter or Rescue? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

By: Chewy EditorialUpdated:

adopting a dog
Chewy Studios

Adopting a Dog From a Shelter or Rescue? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Thinking of adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue? You’re in good company. Last year, over 550,000 dogs joined new families, and at shelters and rescues across the country, thousands more patient pups are waiting for their forever homes. Use our guide to adopting a dog to prepare you for every step of the journey, from deciding to adopt to bringing your new best friend home and beyond. Then, find your future furry friend by searching Chewy's Adoptable Pets service to find a dog in your area looking for a forever home.

Should I Adopt a Dog?

Of course you love dogs—who wouldn’t? But are you ready to take the next step and become a dog parent? Adopting any pet comes with responsibilities, and it’s important to make sure you’ll be able to take good care of your pup for the rest of their life.

That means that now's the time to ask yourself the tough questions about your lifestyle, budget and other pet parenting capabilities before you bring that adorable puppy home.

Are You Ready to Adopt? Find Out!
adopting a dog

How to Adopt a Dog


OK, so you’ve decided you’re ready. But how do you go about adopting a dog?

It’s not quite as simple as walking into your local shelter and walking out with a puppy—but animal shelter and rescue organizations have made the process as easy as possible for potential pet parents, while keeping the best interests of each pet in mind.

We’ve got the lowdown on how the process works.

Here's How to Adopt a Dog, Step by Step

Supplies for Adopting a Dog

Any dog parent will tell you that pups come with gear—a lot of it. Some things are fun extras to enhance your experience with your new pet (like that ultra-adorable dog sweater you’ve had your eye on), but other dog products are necessary for giving your new pup the happiest, healthiest life.

Want to start your dog parenting journey off on the right foot? Make sure you have these essentials at home to take the best care of your new pup.

Everything New Dog Parents Need, Right Here
adopting a dog

More Ways to Help Adoptable Dogs

You can’t bring every adoptable dog home—even though you want to!—but there’s so much more you can do to help homeless pups in your community. Here’s how to make a difference.


When you donate to your local shelter or rescue’s Wish List, Chewy sends the products they need straight to their doorstep. It’s easy for you, and life-changing for pets in need. Find your local shelter or rescue’s Wish List here.


Can’t make a long-term commitment? Temporarily taking in a dog or puppy helps them get the love and care they need until they find a forever home. Find out more about fostering.


Animal shelters and rescues often need the support of pet-loving volunteers who do anything from cleaning to pet photography to simply playing and cuddling with pets. Learn more about how to help your local shelter or rescue.


Adopting a dog is a major decision—one that could change your life for the better! We're wishing you the best of luck on your dog parenting journey.
Chewy Gives Back - National Adopt a Shelter Dog MonthImage


By: Chewy EditorialUpdated: