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 start being 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 will be ready.

Has my new pet already been vaccinated?

Yes, your new pet will be current on all vaccinations at the time of adoption. From there, you will be responsible for keeping the dog or cat up-to-date on vaccines.

Has my new pet already been spayed/neutered?

Yes, every pet in our program is spayed or neutered prior to adoption. There are rare circumstances that do not fit this general rule and those are described in the following question.

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?

You may have fallen in love with a dog that is heartworm positive. The good news is, we can treat your new found love at our APA! clinic. Here’s how: you adopt the dog. Then, one of our veterinarians will evaluate the dog before beginning treatment (This appointment can be scheduled during the adoption process). Your dog will come in to the APA! clinic for treatment, at which time you will be advised on how to care for your dog following treatment.

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. Please be advised that this return will not be effective immediately. Contact email hidden; JavaScript is required or email hidden; JavaScript is required if you are having behavior concerns that you hope to resolve.

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). We also have dog and cat behavior teams on staff that work through issues as needed. Contact email hidden; JavaScript is required or email hidden; JavaScript is required if you are having behavior concerns that you hope to resolve.

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 dogs. Trial adoptions are not available for cats. 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. You may also consider coordinating a meet and greet with your current pet at one of our locations under the guidance of an APA! staff member. Talk to an adoption counselor to coordinate this meet and greet.

We usually don’t do trial adoptions with puppies. 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 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 will be a better fit for your lifestyle since they are usually much less work than a puppy.

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

If your pet becomes ill within 7-10 days of adoption, please contact us.

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 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 veterinarians that can offer advice on what to do with medical problems. 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.