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 
(updated every 30 minutes)

When you come to the shelter with the intention of adopting an animal, there are some things to keep in mind. These items are displayed in the sub-menu at the left of the page and include animals we have for adoption, our adoption fees and other relevant information.

We also have literature on many topics such as helping your pet adjust to its new home, dealing with behavioral problems, and tips on traveling with your pet. We are also here to help you with questions after you take your new pet home, so don't hesitate to call.

How to Adopt

  • All adoptions are done on site at our location in Palo Alto, CA
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We also require you bring your current dog(s) to our shelter for an introduction to the new animal to form some ideas about their compatibility.
  • 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 adoptions by 4:30pm.
  • The following printable application forms can be downloaded by clicking in the links below:

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

Check the information card on the cage or kennel
Information including the animal's age, sex, and breed is shown on this card. Stray animals are held for a period of one week before going up for adoption to allow time for the original owners to find and redeem them. 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.

As you look at potential pets, keep in mind...

  • Families with young children are encouraged to adopt adult dogs and cats, rather than puppies and kittens. Children can inadvertently hurt young animals and vice versa. Older pets are generally more stable, patient and predictable with children; positive relationships are more easily built between the two.
  • How will you accommodate a new pet? How much time do you plan to spend with this animal each day? Are you able to provide the space, shelter, training, proper care, and companionship this particular pet will need?
  • What can you afford? The cost of feeding a dog or cat might add up to more than you expect to spend, not to mention expenses for veterinary care, vaccinations, grooming, licenses and so forth. Have you thought about the costs associated with a new pet?
  • Your new pet and any you already have will need time to get used to each other. You should plan to be with them more than usual as they go through this initial adjustment period.

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.
Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016