Looking for a dog in Atlanta? We totally understand. Dogs are amazing, and the fun and love they bring to one’s life can’t be overstated. So, if you’re on your journey to find a new best friend, then let us help you!
Here, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to adopt a dog in Atlanta.
Finding a dog in Atlanta
The U.S. is a nation of pet lovers. That statement is more than an observation of the rise of boutique pet stores; it’s a fact. According to The Humane Society, more than 60% of American households have a dog, cat, or other pet.
Start your search by checking out rescues and shelters in Atlanta. We’ve compiled a nice list below to help you. Browse the “available” sections to see what pets are ready for adoption. Read the description to get an initial understanding of the dog’s temperament. Find one you like, then proceed to the adoption process.
If you want to get a deal on the adoption fee, check each shelter individually to see if/when they offer discounts, waivers, or adoption drives. Many organizations will reduce prices when their shelters are nearing full capacity, encouraging people to adopt and freeing up space for more homeless pets. Some even reduce adoption fees during national events like National Dog Day or Adopt a Dog Month.
Now, there’s one more thing to do before starting that adoption paperwork: making sure the breed of dog you want is allowed on your property.
Banned breeds in Atlanta
Fulton County Animal Ordinances don’t list any banned breeds, so you should be able to rescue the dog of your choice.
Before you adopt that German Shepherd with the adorable eyes, however, double-check with your landlord (if you rent) or your homeowner’s association (if you own). Your lease or HOA bylaws may prohibit certain breeds on or in the property.
After you’ve selected a dog during the adoption process, rescues will likely ask for a copy of your lease or landlord’s contact information just to verify that there isn’t anything stopping you from adopting the pet in question.
The dog adoption process in Atlanta
Adoption processes vary depending on the rescue, but only slightly. Most include the same basic steps. Once you find a dog you like, you’ll fill out an adoption application and:
- Meet with the dog. Whether you apply online or in person, a member of the rescue staff will arrange for a private meeting with the dog to see how it reacts to you. Bring anyone else living in the household to this meeting, including other dogs if the shelter allows it. This will help you avoid any personality clashes later.
- The rescue staff will use the information you provided to check if the dog is allowed on your property. They may also call your veterinarian’s office, or they’ll recommend a place if you don’t yet have a vet.
- Next, you’ll have a quick counseling session on responsible dog ownership. You’ll likely receive a packet of helpful information. At the very least, you should get a copy of the dog’s medical records. Don’t leave the rescue without them!
- If the meeting goes well, you’ll complete any outstanding paperwork, pay the adoption fee, and take your dog home.
Some rescues choose to arrange home visits at some point during the process. Don’t be alarmed; they just want to meet any other pets and see how well your chosen dog fares when introduced to a new space.
Licensing dogs in Atlanta
All cat and dog owners in Fulton County must get a license for their pet. Why? If your pet gets lost, a license helps people identify you as its owner and determine that the animal is vaccinated against rabies.
Some shelters complete the licensing process during adoption, meaning you have little to no additional paperwork to fill out once you take your dog home. Otherwise, you can get your pet’s license via one of the following methods:
- Registering online at PetData.com (that link will take you straight to the page for Fulton County).
- Printing the Pet Registration Form and mailing it to Fulton County Animal Licensing, ℅ Pet Data, P.O. Box 141929, Irving, TX 75014.
- Heading to Fulton County Animal Services and completing the form in person. Hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A one-year license costs $10 for altered (meaning spayed or neutered) pets and $25 for unaltered pets. A three-year license requires a three-year rabies vaccination and costs $25 for altered pets and $60 for unaltered pets.
The first vet visit
You’ll want to take your new pet to the vet within a week or two of adoption. Some rescues will even provide vouchers—good for a limited amount of time—to their partner veterinarian offices to encourage adopters to take their new pets in for a check-up.
All you’ll need for this visit is yourself, your pet, and the medical records the rescue gave you during the adoption process. The vet assistant will input this information into their database, while the vet will check your dog for minor ailments like kennel cough.
How much it costs to adopt a dog in Atlanta
Adoption fees are an important part of rescue operations, helping cover the cost of finding, transporting, sheltering, feeding, and treating homeless pets.
Below are fees from three different rescues, which you can use to estimate how much you’ll pay to adopt a dog.
LifeLine Animal Project
- Cost: $85 for puppies and adult dogs. Adopters 55 and older pay $40.
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, medical exam, heartworm testing
FurKids Animal Rescue and Shelter
- Cost: $300 for puppies 6 months and younger, $275 for adult dogs up to 8 years, $75 for senior dogs 8 years and older. Veterans, emergency responders, and senior adopters (62 years and older) can get discounted adoptions.
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, complete testing, and medical exam
- Cost: $275 for puppies less than 1-year-old, $250 for dogs 1 to 7 years old, $150 for dogs 7 and older. Senior adopters (65 years and older) can adopt a dog of any age for $150.
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, flea/tick preventative, complimentary bag of dog food.
Where to adopt a dog in Atlanta
Atlanta has plenty of rescues and shelters to find your pet. We’ve listed some below to help you start your search:
- Atlanta Humane Society: With three locations in the city and a track history that spans nearly 150 years, Atlanta Humane Society rescues approximately 10,000 pets annually.
- Atlanta Lab Rescue: This volunteer-run organization primarily focuses its efforts on rescuing Labrador Retrievers and other large breeds.
- DeKalb County Animal Services: Managed by LifeLine Animal Project, DeKalb County Animal Services supports a no-kill Atlanta.
- Fulton County Animal Services: Similar to DeKalb, Fulton County’s shelter is also run by LifeLine Animal Project and similarly works to end euthanasia in Atlanta.
- Furkids (Sadie’s Place): Furkids uniquely welcomes volunteers of all ages, with programs that even kids can participate in. You can go straight to their dog shelter, Sadie’s Place, or pop by one of the many partner organizations at which Furkids holds adoption drives.
- iWag: What began as a small operation in 1996 grew into a full-service rescue that also provides training services.
- LifeLine Animal Project: In addition to its own rescue operations, LifeLine manages the county shelters for both DeKalb and Fulton County. This rescue is a great place to begin your search since it has affordable adoption fees and a large number of pets to browse through online.
- PAWS Atlanta: This no-kill shelter also offers community support, pet food banks, discount medical preventatives, and educational summer camps for young animal enthusiasts.
Creating a care budget for your dog
Now that you have another mouth to feed, your weekly expenses will change a bit. Here are all the things you should add to your budget:
- Food, toys, and treats
- Waste bags
- Dog walking, boarding, and/or pet sitting services
- Exams, vaccines, and dental care
- Parasite preventatives
- Pet insurance
The items below probably won’t be weekly purchases, but they’re essentials that you may need to replace over time:
- A collar or harness
- A leash, crate, and bedding
- Grooming products
- Puppy pads (even your adult dog may need help adjusting its potty habits to its new home)
- Training sessions (if you adopt a puppy)
A note about pet insurance
Pet insurance can be a great help if your dog is older or prone to health issues. It may also provide peace of mind if your pet is relatively healthy. Compare coverage options and quotes from different providers, and decide if this expense makes sense for you and your pup. You can also check your employer benefits package. Some companies offer pet insurance as an additional perk.
Getting ready for your new dog
You’re at the home stretch! Still, there are a few things you should prepare to make your pet’s homecoming go as smoothly as possible. Pick up the following before going to get your dog:
- Food bowls
- A sturdy leash
- A collar or harness
- An appropriately-sized crate
- Grooming tools
- Enzyme cleaner
And then, bring home your new pet
Congratulations! We at Rover with you and your dog nothing but happiness, and we’re here with qualified dog walkers and dog sitters in Atlanta in case you need a helping hand.