If you’re looking to introduce a new best friend and companion into your loving home, and want to save a life while you do it, you might be considering browsing your local shelters for the perfect fit.

If you’re ready to open your home to a dog or cat who needs a second chance but aren’t sure whether fostering or adoption is the right choice, check out our below guide for some of the pros and cons of each option.

Adopt a pet

If you’re ready to add a dog or cat to your family, choosing to adopt a pet is one of the most incredible things you can do. Not only do you get to introduce a terrific dog or cat into your family, but you’ll also get the added feeling of pride that comes from giving a pet a second chance at happiness.

  1. Save a life

According to the ASPCA, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized yearly. By adopting a dog or cat, you’ll literally be saving a life… And not just the life of your new fur baby! When you adopt, you also free-up space in the shelter or rescue group for another animal who needs it.

Besides, by rescuing a dog or cat, you know you’re not contributing to the horrors of puppy mills.

  1. Training

Although pet-shop puppies might be cute, we can almost guarantee they’re not housetrained! Animals up for adoption have usually undertaken some basic training, including being housetrained, so you’ll have less destruction and fewer accidents to worry about when rescuing a dog or cat!

  1. Costs

Although some people are put off adoption because they believe it involves high costs, adopting can actually be a much more affordable way of bringing a pet into your family. Shelters will usually cover the cost of spaying or neutering, the first set of vaccinations, and sometimes even microchipping! Yes, there will usually be a ‘donation’ to pay when adopting a pet, but this also tends to only be a small fee. The ‘donation’ goes towards enabling the shelter or rescue group to continue their work.

Become a foster parent

If you’re not sure that you’re ready to make the commitment to adopting an animal but still want to give a dog or cat a chance to find their forever home, then fostering could be the right choice.

  1. Timing

When fostering, you will only be asked to care for the animal for a short period. This could be a few weeks to a few months. You’ll usually be asked to foster animals who aren’t doing well in the shelter or need a little extra attention to make them more adoptable.

  1. Reward

Most people get put off the idea of becoming a foster parent as they worry about falling in love with their ward… But don’t worry! If you really do fall in love, foster parents are nearly always able to adopt their fur babies (“foster failures”). If you can’t adopt, the rewards of helping a pet find their forever home massively outweighs the sadness of saying goodbye.

  1. Training

You may be asked to aid with some basic training for your foster pet to help them become more adoptable. This could include toilet training or reducing behavioral issues. The shelter will go through these with you before taking the pet home to ensure you’re comfortable.

Which is best? 

While there are pros and cons to fostering and adopting, you’ll usually know which is right for you. And even if you start with one, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can never consider the other!

When considering which is best for you and your family, these are some vital things to think about:

  1. Not their fault

Animals rarely end up in shelters because of anything they did… It’s far more common for a pet to be put up for adoption due to human problems such as a house move, divorce, or death.

Rescued animals have just as much (if not more) love to give to their forever families or foster parents as pet-shop pets. Particularly older animals understand that you’ve saved them and will make every effort to thank you.

  1. Costs

Vet bills are always an essential consideration when getting any pet. When adopting a dog or cat, any veterinary bills up to that point will likely be covered, but future conditions and treatments will be your responsibility. Foster animals, however, are often fully paid for by the shelter or rescue group.

You might also need to think about other costs, including toys, collars, leash, crate, etc. For older or smaller pups, a dog ramp could be an excellent investment, while cats will need a litter tray and regular cat litter purchases in addition to food.


Getting a pet is a huge commitment! If you’re not sure you’re ready to commit the next 10+ years of your life to care for an animal, then fostering might be a better way for you to enjoy the companionship of a pup or kitty without facing the lifetime commitment.