- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Looking for a new canine friend in San Antonio? Look no further! Rover knows everything about dogs—walking them, yes, but also adopting them.
Finding a new pet is like searching for your dream house. Your hunt might take you to some unexpected places, but if you search smart, you’ll end up with something that feels exactly like home.
So what are you waiting for? Read on to learn everything you need to know about adopting a dog in San Antonio.
Did you know that shelters take in approximately 3.3 million stray dogs each year? That’s according to the ASPCA. With those odds, you’re sure to find the perfect pet in no time.
Start your search at a local shelter—we’ve listed several high-rated ones below. The staff and volunteers here know their dogs well and can pair you with a great match. You can also browse aggregated websites like Petfinder or Adopt A Pet that collect listings from multiple rescues into one database. Just keep in mind that these sites may not always have the most up-to-date information.
If you’re having a hard time with so many options, try searching for a specific breed. While this won’t predict a dog’s behavior 100%, it can give you a sense of what types of dogs suit your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment, for example, a breed that’s known for cuddling and couch naps is a good bet. You can find the characteristics of different dog breeds on the American Kennel Club website.
One last tip: Keep an eye on rescues that are well-known in your area. They will often have adoption drives during high-volume times to clear space for more pets. You might also find shelters reducing fees during Adopt a Dog Month or National Dog Day.
Banned breeds in San Antonio
Neither the state of Texas nor the city of San Antonio has any sort of breed-specific legislation. This means that yes, you can adopt that pit bull mix you have your eye on. With that said, San Antonio does have laws determining what counts as a dangerous or aggressive dog and what owners should do if they have one.
Additionally, some landlords, businesses, and homeowner’s associations may prohibit certain breeds on their property. Be sure to consult your lease agreement or HOA before adopting. A reputable shelter will likely check your lease or contact your landlord as you complete the required paperwork.
The adoption process in San Antonio
While the specifics may vary, the adoption process is relatively consistent from shelter to shelter. Some may have you apply in advance and conduct a home visit, while others are known for same-day adoptions.
Here’s a general idea of what to expect:
- You find a pet that interests you (either in person or online) and fill out an adoption application.
- The shelter arranges a meeting with the dog. Try to have everyone living in the home present during this time.
- If the meeting goes well, you’ll complete any outstanding paperwork and sit through a new owner counseling session. Shelter staff may also review your lease/contact your landlord and get in touch with your veterinarian. If you don’t have a vet, ask the staff or volunteers to recommend some.
- Finally, you’ll pay your adoption fee and take your pet home!
Most cities require dog owners to license their pets. Licensing not only funds the vital services of the city’s animal care department, but it also helps reunite you with your dog should the two of you become separated.
San Antonio takes a different approach. Instead of registering your pet with the city and getting your license renewed on an annual basis, all you have to do is microchip your dog. Microchipping greatly increases the chances of a lost pet finding its way back to its owners. Many rescues will include microchipping as part of the adoption fee. If yours doesn’t, San Antonio’s Animal Care Services department regularly offers free microchipping events.
You’ll want to bring your dog to the vet within a week of adoption. Shelters are busy places with several animals in need of care, so they may not be able to treat any minor ailments like kennel cough. A check-up will catch anything your dog picked up from the shelter.
Additionally, this is a good time for your vet to meet your new companion and its records to their databases. The shelter should have included your dog’s medical history with the adoption paperwork, so bring these papers to your vet.
Adoption fees help shelters and rescues maintain their operations. The money pays for supplies, medical care, outreach, education programs, and more.
The cost of adoption varies depending on the age of the dog in question. Below, we’ve listed the fees for three San Antonio shelters (as well as what that fee covers) to help you get a sense of how much you’ll pay to adopt a puppy or adult dog.
Animal Defense League of Texas
- Cost: $60 for adult dogs, $200 for puppies under 6 months
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, parasite prevention and treatment, 30-day trial of pet insurance, starter bag of pet food
San Antonio Humane Society
- Cost: $50 to $135
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, parasite prevention and treatment (flea and heartworm), dewormer, complimentary wellness exam and follow-up care (within 5 and 14 days of adoption, respectively), 30-day trial of pet insurance
San Antonio Pets Alive!
- Cost: $60 for adult dogs, $150 for puppies under 6 months, $25 for dogs on the euthanasia list
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping, parasite preventative (flea and heartworm)
- Animal Defense League of Texas: The Animal Defense League improves the quality of life of abandoned, abused, or neglected pets in addition to providing humane education programs and low-cost spay/neuter clinics.
- City of San Antonio Animal Care Services: Part of the San Antonio Government, ACS accepts owner surrenders and adopts out stray pets.
- Cressie Animal Refuge & Enrichment (CARE): This nonprofit group, made up of local business owners, works with the business community to create a network of foster families.
- Footbridge Foundation: Footbridge has a very interesting origin story. San Antonio resident Wendy Black noticed that once the dogs she fostered grew used to walking across her neighborhood footbridge, they seemed to let go of their traumatic pasts and embrace their love-filled futures. Black decided to create a 501(c)(3) organization to continue servicing these animals.
- Helotes Humane Society: A local pet rescue and thrift store that hosts an annual 5K fundraiser.
- Paws Ranch Rescue and Animal Sanctuary: Operating since 2010 (thanks to a grant from PepsiCo), PRRAS works to make San Antonio a no-kill city by rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming stray pets.
- San Antonio Humane Society: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving the Bexar County area since 1952. SAHS is a local organization, unaffiliated with the Humane Society of the United States, that directly serves and is funded by the community.
- San Antonio Pets Alive!: A fast-paced, high-volume rescue that has saved more than 50,000 pets since its founding in 2012.
Dogs like food—lots and lots of food. And bags of kibble won’t be the only thing added to your budget. As a pet owner, your recurring expenses will include:
- Food and treats
- Waste bags
- Dental care
- Exams and vaccinations
- Parasite and flea/tick medications
- Dog walking services
- Boarding/pet sitting
- Pet insurance
You’ll also have to make a few one-time purchases, such as:
- A collar or harness and a leash
- A crate and bedding
- Puppy pads
- Grooming products
- Training sessions
- Pet-friendly cleaning products
If you adopt a senior dog or one with chronic health issues, pet insurance can give you peace of mind. Compare different coverage options, get quotes, and see what makes sense for you financially. Be sure to check your employer’s benefit options, as some businesses include pet insurance as an additional perk.
You’re almost there! To make your pet’s homecoming go as smoothly as possible, have the essentials ready beforehand. The more their new space feels like home, the easier it will be for your dog to adjust from rescue life.
Your pet homecoming checklist should include:
- Food, food bowls, and treats
- A sturdy leash and collar or harness
- An appropriately-sized crate
- Grooming tools
- Treats and toys
- Enzyme cleaner (it’s not uncommon for dogs to have an accident when in a new space)
Congratulations! We’re so excited for you to start this great new journey with your dog. If you ever need support, Rover has highly qualified dog walkers and dog sitters in San Antonio ready to step in and save the day.