Creative Ways to Publicize Adoptable Pets

Getting the word out about adoptable pets is important to helping them find homes as quickly as possible. In fact, in a 2022 survey of shelters and rescues, 84% said sharing pictures of pets on social media helps them be adopted faster.*

Here are ways you can help make sure homeless pets get the publicity they need.

Cities

  • Feature an “adoptable pet of the week” on your city social media in collaboration with your animal welfare team or primary shelter. It’s a great way to keep homeless pets top-of-mind and demonstrate your city’s commitment to helping them find homes.
  • Set up a monthly or quarterly program in which an adoptable pet spends time with the Mayor at their office. Capture pictures and video for social media posts to promote pet adoption and fostering.
  • Ask your Mayor for a proclamation in support of pet adoption. They can put out a press release highlighting your city’s commitment to helping homeless pets and providing resources where community members can learn more.
  • Encourage city staff to take part in “doggy day out” opportunities, where they bring a shelter dog with them throughout the day to give the dog a break from the shelter and the community a chance to meet them.
  • Incorporate shelter pet adoption or meet-and-greet opportunities into city events.

Shelters

  • Recruit “Pet Publicists.” Ask volunteers in the community to help spread the word about your adoptable shelter pets. Set up time for volunteers to interact with pets to get to know them and then have them write posts about the pets on social media. 
  • Invest in “Adopt Me!” vests or bandanas and have volunteers take pets to parks, for walks around neighborhoods, and to pet-friendly community places and events.
  • Talk with local media outlets about donating a “pet of the week” segment to help spread the word about available pets.
  • Ask pet-friendly local businesses to host an adoptable pet for a day to help them meet more potential adopters.
  • Emphasize social promotion as part of your temporary and longer-term foster programs. Check out this Virtual Foster Program handbook from Austin Pets Alive! and PEDIGREE Foundation for tips.
  • If you don’t have a photographer on your team, recruit a local amateur photographer to volunteer to take high-quality pictures of your adoptable pets for social media posts.
  • Make pet bios on social media as compelling as possible. Speak in the voice of the pet. Be fun and conversational. Talk about any behavioral needs in a positive light, emphasizing where the pet will succeed best rather than dwelling on where they won’t.
  • Make video capture a regular part of pet socialization time. Cute videos showing a pet’s personality in motion can get a lot of traction or even go viral on social media.
  • Be sure to explicitly ask social media followers to share your posts about adoptable pets. Followers may not know how important their Likes and Shares are to helping spread the word.

Pet Lovers

  • Follow shelters and rescues on social media and be sure to Like and Share their posts to help them reach more people.
  • Participate in short-term fostering programs, like “doggy days out,” to help pets get time out of the shelter to relax and decompress.
  • Volunteer to be a pet walker for your local shelter, so they can get as many pets as possible out into the community to meet more potential adopters.
  • Ask your shelter what else you can do – chances are, they’ll be delighted to have your help!

Want more ways to help pets in your community? Check out our Helping Homeless Pets Toolkit for resources for cities, tools for shelters and tips for pet lovers.

* Survey of 285 shelters and animal organizations by AdoptAPet.com on behalf of Mars Petcare. September 2022.

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