To Petfinder or not to Petfinder

Ask a rescue person and they likely have an opinion of and other adoption portals.  But with an average of 40 million visit per month, PetFinder is a dominant force and a go to site for millions of people looking to adopt an animal.  So why wouldn’t you want to use them or the dozens of other portals for animal adoptions out there?

The case for using PetFinder.  With an average of a million hits per day, has grown since being launched in 1996 by Betsy Banks Saul as a way to get the message out regarding adoptable animals.  Now owned by Nestle Purina, PetFinder has a significant presence on the web with lots of content for new pet owners, tools for rescues and shelters to use to upload their available animals, a web presence for smaller rescue organizations and automatic interfaces or APIs to many of the largest shelter management software programs out there.  PetFinder has the ability to link you to customers that you did not know existed that may be searching for an animal you have for adoption.

The case for not using PetFinder.  While it may seem silly to not want your animals featured on a site where millions of people are searching on a regular basis, loading your animals to PetFinder does come with some challenges that you should consider.  The most common problem rescues have indicated is that the majority of the inquiries they get through PetFinder are not valuable leads for potential adopters.  The time it takes rescue organizations to follow up with people asking “Is this animal still available?” detracts from the valuable activities that they should be doing to keep their rescue viable.  It’s an unfortunate fact that many rescue organizations are not able to maintain their PetFinder listing so there are thousands of animal profiles that show for animals that are no longer available.  Further, people trolling through the search for animals often do not take the time to read the descriptions and status to determine whether the animal is available or not.  It’s easier to just send a message than to read for the answer.  So many rescues have opted to spend more time enhancing their brand within their local community by partnering with local shelters, other rescues and organizations that permit them to do adoption days like PetCo and Petsmart.

It should be noted that while PetFinder is the largest, they certainly are not the only game in town.  Our friends at have a great listing of adoption portals that their software integrates to and it’s the largest list we’ve seen yet.

So what’s your take?  Is PetFinder worth the effort for the reward?