5 best animal shelters in Houston

January 26, 2024 - 3 min read
Houston SPCA

Houston is a big city with a big heart for its animals.

You’ll find no shortage of shelters and rescue programs dedicated to saving the lives of homeless pets. If you’re thinking about adopting a new four-legged family member, consider one of these Houston-based shelters.

Houston SPCA

Houston SPCA

A Longstanding Champion of Animals

Address: 7007 Old Katy Rd

Phone: (713) 869-7722

Website/Social: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

Houston SPCA has been looking out for Houston’s animals since 1924, making it among the oldest and best-respected shelters in the city. At any given time, you might find hundreds of dogs and cats, as well as horses, farm animals, and small companion pets, looking for their forever homes. On-site adoption counselors can help you find your perfect match.

In addition to sheltering and rehoming animals, the Houston SPCA’s services also include an injured animal rescue ambulance, foster care, community outreach, and a pet meal program to help those in need. The Houston SPCA also operates the Annie White Graham Wildlife Center, a facility to house and rehabilitate Texas birds, reptiles, and mammals.

Friends for Life

Friends for Life

No-Kill and Community-Focused

Address: 107 E 22nd St

Phone: (713) 863-9835

Website/Social: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

Not only does Friends for Life strive to find new homes for Houston’s homeless animals, they make sure to find the right homes with a thorough adoption process and plenty of new pet owner support. This includes a one-week “sleepover” to ensure your new pet is a good fit, as well as detailed guidance on how to introduce your new furry family member to pets you may already have.

Community efforts don’t stop there. The shelter started Houston’s first animal food bank and provides a drive-through clinic for free vaccinations, exams, and pet food for community members struggling to care for their animals during a rough patch.

Harris County Pets

Harris County Pets

State-of-the-Art Adoption Facility

Address: 612 Canino Rd

Phone: (281) 999-3191

Website/Social: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

Harris County Pets, operated by Harris County Public Health, operates a clean and beautiful facility for pet adoptions. The building has separate entrances for adoptions, intake, and the medical clinic. Prospective pet owners can get to know an animal in dedicated “Get Acquainted” areas and talk through tips for pet ownership in adoption counseling rooms.

The shelter’s animal residents enjoy indoor/outdoor kennel runs, cat condos with sleeping and eating areas away from their litter boxes, and a multi-section dog park and pavilion. Despite receiving some 16,000 to 20,000 animals each year, the shelter’s live release rate in 2020 was nearly 99 percent, qualifying it as a no-kill shelter.

A close-up of a concerned yellow Labrador Retriever with a gentle expression, receiving an examination by a veterinarian whose hands are shown holding a clipboard, in a clinical setting.

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A close-up of a concerned yellow Labrador Retriever with a gentle expression, receiving an examination by a veterinarian whose hands are shown holding a clipboard, in a clinical setting.

Special Pals

Special Pals

Great guidance through the adoption process

Address: 3830 Greenhouse Rd

Phone: (281) 579-7387

Website/Social: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

Staff members and volunteers at this Houston shelter go out of their way to help guide adopters to their perfect pet. Let the staff know what type of pet you’re looking to adopt, and they’ll fill you in on all the details of appropriate cats and dogs available for adoption. The process is smooth, streamlined, and un-rushed, which goes a long way toward making a big decision much more relaxing.

Special Pals offers a walk-in, low-cost clinic where pet parents can keep their pets current on vaccinations, heartworm and flea prevention, and FIV tests. Proceeds from the clinic go toward the care of adoptable animals.

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP)

Citizens for Animal Protection

Affordable Adoption Fees and Ongoing Care

Address: 17555 Katy Fwy

Phone: (281) 497-0591

Website/Social: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

Citizens for Animal Protection, also known as CAP, has a mission to help the Houston community care for animals in need in a way that’s affordable. The highly regarded adoption program helps find new homes for cats, kittens, puppies, dogs, and a range of other small animals.

Fees include hundreds of dollars worth of services, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, deworming, microchipping, canine heartworm treatment, and feline leukemia testing. Adoption fees are lower for adult and older animals, and pet parents can get discounts by adopting a second forever friend within 30 days of the first adoption. CAP also offers discounted adoption fees for seniors and military families.

The bottom line? If you're thinking about adopting a dog or cat in Houston, you've got options. As you embark on this exciting journey, consider buying a pet insurance policy; it can help you pay for unexpected accidents and illnesses* that might crop up.

Here's to finding your perfect pet match in Houston!

*pre-existing conditions excluded. See your policy for details.

Lydia is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in digital content production. She’s written for outlets including USA TODAY, TripAdvisor, and Viator.