Adoption FAQs

How do I adopt a pet? What instructions to I need to follow post-adoption?

For instructions on how to adopt; our adoption fees and what is included with those fees; and post-adoption instructions and requirements, see How to adopt a dog or How to adopt a cat.

Can I take my new pet home the same day?

In most cases, yes. We actually prefer for you to take your new pet home so that he/she can get started being a part of your family. If you know you are in the market for a pet, it is a good idea to have some things ready for your new pet such as bedding, food, bowls, and toys. That way, when you fall in love with the right one, you both will be ready.

Has my new pet already been vaccinated?

Yes, your new pet will have had all of the vaccinations he/she needs up until the point of adoption. This means that you may have to get more vaccines as they become due but we will have taken care of what they need up until the date of adoption.

Has my new pet already been spayed/neutered?

Yes, every pet in our program will have had the spay/neuter surgery prior to adoption. On some occasions, we will have puppies or kittens for adoption that have not been spayed or neutered, they can go home on the day of adoption, however a surgery deposit is required and the spay/neuter must be scheduled with our on-site medical clinic during the adoption process.

Can I get a new pet before he/she is spayed/neutered?

In most cases, no. If a cat or dog is in a foster home, you will “pre-adopt” that animal through the foster team and the animal will remain in foster until surgery.  You will be notified of the surgery date and may pick up your “pre-adopted” animal from surgery on that date.  If the fostered animal cannot be spayed or neutered in a timely fashion due to medical concerns,  you may leave a $100 deposit and take the animal home on a “pre-adoption” basis under the condition that once the animal’s health has improved, you will have the animal spayed or neutered at Austin Pets Alive!  If a cat or dog residing in the shelter has not yet been spayed or neutered for any reason, you may leave a $100 deposit and take the animal home on a “pre-adoption” basis under the condition that once the animal can be altered and a surgery spot has opened, you will have the animal spayed or neutered at Austin Pets Alive! When you return to have your cat or dog spayed or neutered, your deposit will be refunded. If you fail to make your scheduled appointment and do not communicate with Austin Pets Alive! why your “pre-adopted” pet has not been altered, you may lose your deposit.

What if a dog I am interested in is Heartworm Positive?

Because heartworms are so prevalent in Texas, we do have a number of dogs that have tested positive for heartworms in our program. We are now able to treat this disease at our on-site medical clinic. One of our veterinarians will need to evaluate the dog before beginning treatment and this appointment can be scheduled during the adoption process. The dog can go home the same day and the adoption counselor or medical staff member can describe the process of heartworm treatment. APA! also has many dogs that have already had their heartworm treatment paid for (resulting in waived adoption fees) and all others will have their treatment covered by standard adoption fees, there is no additional cost for this treatment.

It is important that a dog undergoing heartworm treatment is calm and relaxed for a few weeks following treatment so we prefer for the treatment to occur in your home as opposed to being treated in our program.

What is your return policy?

APA! will take back any adopted pet if the adoption does not work out for any reason. Please e-mail us at email hidden; JavaScript is required to start the return process. Please specify the problem you are having with your pet so we can assist you quickly.

Can I get my adoption donation refunded if my new pet doesn’t work out?

In general, no. We want potential pet owners to be sure they are ready to adopt. We would rather you think about it before you adopt rather than after. We are willing to work through any issues that arise and depending on the situation, we may be able to offer an exchange (if the pup you chose doesn’t get along with an existing pet for example) or a partial refund (for extenuating circumstances). We also have dog and cat behavior teams on staff that work through issues as needed.

I found a pet that I want to adopt but am not sure if he/she will work out in my home with my other pets. Can I do a trial adoption?

We do trial adoptions in certain situations, usually just for our adult pets. If you are interested in a trial adoption, speak with an adoption counselor at an event or the main APA! location about your situation. You will be required to do all of the adoption paperwork and pay the adoption fee, but your contract will have a stipulation that entitles you to a full refund if you return the pet to us within a certain time-frame.

We usually don’t do trial adoptions with puppies or kittens. Young animals will almost always get along well with the other pets in the home. We would prefer that an adopter be 100% ready and committed to that puppy/kitten before adopting. If you have concerns about raising a young pet, please talk to an adoption counselor. You might discover that one of our older dogs or cats will be a better fit for your lifestyle since they are usually much less work than a puppy or kitten.

What do I do with my new pet if he/she gets sick after I adopt him/her?

Every pet leaves our care with health insurance from 24PetWatch. You can use the insurance at any vet clinic (you have to file all the paperwork). It will cover your pet for 30 days and up to $750 per incident (after a $75 deductible).

Please read your insurance information carefully and be sure to activate it. Many of our pets have just come out of the shelter, where they could have caught something.  While all of our pets are under the supervision of a vet, there are diseases which tests cannot catch until the pet is showing symptoms.

This pet insurance only covers problems that have come up after adoption; it does not cover pre-existing conditions.  The coverage begins 48 hours after adoption. Click here for all details about the pet insurance.

If your pet becomes ill within 7-10 days of adoption, please contact us so that we can help you find low-cost solutions.

What if I’m having problems with the pet I adopted from APA! and need help?

We try to set the right expectations about anything that we know about the pet before you adopt (dogs/puppies need training and possibly housebreaking, separation anxiety is possible in dogs abandoned at shelters, puppies tend to cry the first few days, dogs/puppies need regular exercise to be good dogs, etc…) but if you are experiencing a problem, we want to help you fix it.

We have dog and cat behavior staff that are willing to help with any behavioral issues and we have veterinarians that can offer advice on what to do with medical problems. We also send home every pet with 30 days of free health insurance that comes in handy should a medical problem develop after adoption. We want every adoption to be successful.

We will follow up with you at within the first 90 days after you adopt from us, to ensure that you have the support that you need. If you need to contact us before that, please email us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

If you need help with behavior issues, please contact our dog behavior team directly at email hidden; JavaScript is required or our cat behavior team at email hidden; JavaScript is required

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