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Seattle Dog Adoption Tips: How to Adopt a Dog in Seattle

Updated: May 7, 2024

Seattle is a city full of dog people! If you need convincing – Seattle has a whopping 353 dog-friendly restaurants AND more dogs than children! If you want to join the many pet parents with rescue dogs in Seattle, you may find it overwhelming to know where to start.

We have you covered on what to expect when looking to adopt in Seattle. You can feel prepared with some beginner’s tips, a look into adoption applications, and listings of amazing Seattle shelters and foster networks.

happy pitbull at a Seattle animal shelter

Beginner’s Tips for Adopting a Dog in Seattle

Budget – Based on where you adopt or where the pup has been rescued from, adoption fees can vary. In Seattle, the typical cost to adopt a dog ranges between $175 and $300 on average, which foster-based groups sometimes being higher. Be sure you have this fee set aside and have enough to buy the supplies you will need to take your new family member home.

Know What You Want – When you walk into a shelter or browse the adoptable dogs at a local rescue, you may feel like taking each pup home with you! If you know what you are looking for when adopting, you will cut down your time spent looking around and avoid getting too overwhelmed with choices. You should know what kind of energy level, hair length, temperament, and age will work best for your lifestyle.

Talk to Friends – Talk to the people who know you best! It is likely if you start asking your friends and family where they have adopted dogs in Seattle, you will get a better idea of where to begin your process.

brindle mixed breed dog getting adopted

Adoption Applications

No matter where you adopt a dog from, you will be expected to complete an adoption application so the rescue organization can be sure you are a good fit for their dogs. Don’t be daunted by this – it is to provide help for both you and the dog! A rescue organization will know if there seems to be a mismatch in energy or personality based on what you provide.

Typically, you will be asked to provide information on where you live, who lives with you, any other pets you own, a history of your pet ownership, personal references, and your current or planned veterinarian.

Remember, these applications are to ensure responsible dog ownership! While they may take some time, they are essential to the incredible organizations that aim to find and keep dogs in their homes.

Rescue / Foster Groups

Foster groups operate within a network of hardworking volunteers to keep dogs in a home environment until adoption. This system takes some pressure off of shelters and allows dogs to adjust to living in a home before their adoption.

dog gone Seattle foster dog getting adopted

Suzie’s knows first-hand that this Seattle-based, foster-run rescue is first-rate from working with them on fundraising. Dog Gone Seattle rescues homeless dogs or those at risk of euthanasia and matches them with the best-suited foster family.

When you adopt a dog from Dog Gone Seattle, the price of adoption covers initial veterinary care including spay/neuter, Rabies, DAPPV, Bordetella, heartworm testing, microchipping, and grooming prior to adoption. In addition, they evaluate behavioral temperament and compatibility so you can look at their adoptable dogs with that in mind!

The adoption fees at Dog Gone include all that was mentioned above and vary with each animal. You can find their fees listed alongside comprehensive bios on their, “adoptable dogs” page. You can also fill out their adoption form to get matched with adoptable dogs that would best suit you!

Sunny Skies Animal Rescue is a nonprofit, foster-based rescue in Northwest Washington. They specialize in rescuing animals that need medication attention. They are able to provide these animals comfortable recoveries in their foster homes until they are rehabilitated and ready to join a forever family!

To adopt a dog through Sunny Skies you can submit an application form and then plan to meet adoptable dogs through their foster families or at scheduled adoption events in the Seattle area!

Resilient Hearts Animal Sanctuary Resilient Hearts Animal Sanctuary has a mission to save animals from high-kill shelters in the Pacific Northwest and to rehabilitate and rehome them. They are based in Seattle so their network is easily accessible if you live in the city or its surrounding areas!

One of the defining differences between Resilient Hearts rather than some other agencies is that their rules for adoption do not require potential adopters to have a backyard. They acknowledge that not every adopter in a metro area will have a backyard so they do not use this as a disqualifying factor. Their website states they are, "not about the size of the fence in your yard, only the size of your heart".

Resilient Hearts works will all kinds of families and offer resources catered for every need. When adopting through Resilient Hearts you can be sure that their team will put all their passion into finding an adoptable dog for you!

Shelters or Pounds

Going to your local shelter or pound is the most familiar form of dog adoption to many. Being at a shelter provides face-to-face time with plenty of pets but the animals there are often adopted or put into foster homes quickly. This means you should know exactly what you are looking for before you visit a shelter or pound in Seattle.

a rescued jack Russell terrier on a leash

Seattle's local government-run shelter. This agency takes responsibility for dogs that have been surrendered or abandoned. They ask that you submit an adoption survey before applying to adopt a particular pup.

The Seattle Dog Animal Shelter is available for visitation in Interbay between Wednesday and Sunday.

PAWS is located just outside of Seattle in Lynnwood. They are a long-standing rescue that has rescued dogs, cats, and local wildlife since 1967. Through their work, they rehabilitate, rehome and educate the public on compassion for animals.

You can visit PAWS six days a week (every day except Wednesday) to find an adoptable dog.

The Seattle Humane Society believes in taking in animals with no time limit as they receive veterinary and behavioral care. They have a history of compassion as they celebrated their 100th year of service in 2022! Through their Lifesaver Rescue Program, they go on hundreds of rescue trips and save the lives of thousands of pets at overcapacity shelters in other states.

The Seattle Humane's Bellevue location is open seven days a week for you to check out their available pups.

the Seattle humane building

Breed-Specific Rescues

One of the biggest misconceptions about adopting a dog is that you can’t find a breed that you love. This is why breed-specific rescue groups do an amazing service to the rescue world! You can adopt the dog breed you love most in Seattle with some of the incredible groups listed below.

family petting dogs at Seattle animal shelter

The Seattle Pure Breed Rescue is a great choice for families looking for a specific breed in mind. They have been operating since 1987 so they have plenty of experience working with local state run-shelters and breed clubs to find homes for surrendered purebred dogs.

Seattle Pure Breed Rescue also does amazing work to educate the public so that fewer dogs end up in local shelters. They estimate that roughly 25% of dogs in shelters are pure breeds and they work tirelessly to get them into homes quickly!

After submitting an application for adoption, you will be contacted as quickly as possible when a dog becomes available. After a dog is found as a match a member of the organization will do a home and yard check for successful adoption.

Greyhound Pets Inch is a nonprofit serving the Pacific Northwest and Southwestern Canada. They foster and adopt out Greyhounds and greyhound mixes to loving homes. If you are looking for a sweet, smart Greyhound in Seattle, they should be your first stop.

Who can resist the endless energy or sweet spotted coat of Cattle Dogs? Pacific Northwest Cattle Dog Rescue (PNWCDR) is a foster-based rescue that takes in cattle dogs/cattle dog mixes to find them new homes. You can find all the adoptable cattle dogs on their website and Petfinder for easy browsing.

woman hugging rescued yellow lab

Final Thoughts

No matter where you end up adopting a dog from in Seattle, know that you are adding so much happiness to your life and that of your new four-legged family member! When you adopt you save two lives - your dog's life and the life of a dog who now has space in a rescue.

You also will find that adopting a dog can make you an advocate for adopting, simply by introducing others to them! When those who have not met many rescue dogs meet yours they are being exposed to a whole new world of possibilities for adopting in the future!


If you do find a rescue dog in Seattle, you can find yummy Suzie's CBD Treats to help them keep calm as they transition into their new home. Suzie's is sold online and found in stores near you. You may also want to read our blog on how to welcome a newly rescued dog home!

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