Adopt a Dog in Chicago, IL: 5 Best Dog Shelters

An adoptable dog wearing a bandana in front of a Chicago cityscape to represent dog adoption in Chicago

Chicago, renowned as the Windy City, boasts not only its skyline, rich history, and deep-dish pizza — but also a passionate community of dog lovers. It’s a great place to be for dogs and dog parents, with various dog-friendly establishments and plenty of dog-friendly activities to do.

Yet, sadly, not all dogs in Chicago have a place to call home. Numerous dogs are in dog shelters, waiting for their person to bring them home. As part 

In this article, we'll explore dog adoption in Illinois, costs, and highlight the top shelters in Chicago.

Contents & Featured Dog Shelters in Chicago

A dog parent happily walking with their fur baby after successfully adopting a dog in Chicago

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Dog in Chicago, Illinois?

While getting a dog from a licensed breeder can cost thousands of dollars, adopting a dog in Chicago will only require an adoption fee, which ranges from around $200 to $600. Adoption fees can vary depending on the age of the dog — as well as the specific rates of the dog shelter in Chicago.

How to Adopt a Dog in Chicago, Illinois

Different dog shelters in Chicago may have different processes for dog adoption. Typically, the process starts with filling out an application form — followed by an interview with the applicant, meeting the shelter dogs, and so on. 

Some dog shelters in Chicago may also call the landlord (for rental properties) to check if dog adoption is permitted and/or conduct a brief home visit to assess the home’s suitability for a dog.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Adopt a Dog in Chicago?

Most dog shelters in Chicago require the to-be pet parent to be at least 21 years old. However, age is not the only requirement to adopt a dog in Chicago, IL. Dog shelters in Chicago may assess the suitability of the home, the landlord’s approval, and other pertinent details about the primary adopter.

Best Dog Shelters in Chicago

Interested in adopting a dog from one of the dog shelters in Chicago? Here are our top picks at Sploot Vets:

1. South Suburban Humane Society

  • Location: 21800 Central Avenue, Matteson, IL
  • Highlights: non-profit dog shelter, fosters, dog adoption, puppy adoption, cat adoption, high rating on Charity Navigator

Located in Chicago’s South Side, South Suburban Humane Society (SSHS) has been finding homes for dogs and cats for over 50 years. They have a variety of pups for adoption. On the website, they talk about the characteristics of each adoptable dog, giving to-be pet parents a glimpse into their vital details and unique personalities.

Before adoption, dogs from SSHS are spayed/neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated — a good foundation for routine care. Aside from thorough care and seamless service, another thing that sets SSHS apart is their commitment to transparency as a non-profit organization.

2. PAWS Chicago

  • Location: 1997 N. Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL
  • Highlights: no-kill shelter, non-profit dog shelter, fosters, dog adoption, puppy adoption, cat adoption, high rating on Charity Navigator

Founded in 1997, PAWS Chicago emerged as a beacon of hope in response to the city's stray animal crisis and the heartbreaking reality of euthanizing animals in shelters. PAWS Chicago is committed to implementing and promoting no-kill strategies, focusing on advocating spaying & neutering — as well as pet adoption and community engagement.

PAWS Chicago has a variety of adoptable dogs that are looking for loving homes. Their website showcases detailed information about each adoptable dog, complete with ratings on the dog’s friendliness, independence, energy levels, and overall personality.

The inside of PAWS Chicago, a dog shelter in Chicago where one can adopt a dog

3. ALIVE Rescue

  • Location: 1214 W. Monroe St., Chicago, IL
  • Highlights: No-kill animal shelter, non-profit animal shelter, fosters, dog adoption, puppy adoption, cat adoption, rabbit/domestic adoption

ALIVE Rescue is on a mission to save and rehabilitate abandoned animals, primarily from high-euthanasia-rate shelters in Chicago. They offer comprehensive support regardless of age or breed, ensuring every animal gets a second chance at a loving home.

On ALIVE Rescue’s website, numerous animals, including adoptable dogs and puppies, are up for adoption. They include a detailed description of each adoptable dog, including vital information and personality details that are important for potential adopters.

4. Chicago Canine Rescue

  • Location: 5272 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
  • Highlights: non-profit dog shelter, fosters, dog adoption, puppy adoption

Founded in 2001, Chicago Canine Rescue provides a sanctuary for animals in need, welcoming those from open-intake shelters, rural partners with limited resources, and families facing difficult circumstances. With a compassionate team, Chicago Canine Rescue provides essential medical treatment, emotional support, and behavioral rehabilitation to every animal in their care.

On Chicago Canine Rescue’s website, there are numerous adoptable dogs and puppies, complete with the dog’s history, personality, and adoption fee, providing an accessible platform for individuals to find their perfect furry companion.

The outside of Chicago Canine Rescue, a dog shelter in Chicago where one can adopt a dog

5. New Leash on Life

  • Location: 4064 N Lincoln Ave #374, Chicago, IL 
  • Highlights: volunteer-run, non-profit dog shelter, fosters, dog adoption

New Leash on Life is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization dedicated to finding loving homes for shelter dogs at risk of euthanasia. The work they do addresses pet overpopulation, emphasizing the importance of spaying and neutering — while also facilitating dog adoption

New Leash on Life features a handful of adoptable dogs on their website, talking about each dog’s personality, compatibility with other pets, house training information, and more. They also share heartwarming dog adoption success stories, illustrating the profound impact they have on the lives of these canine companions and the families they've filled with joy.. 

Final Thoughts on Adopting a Dog in Chicago, IL

That wraps up our article on dog adoption in Chicago and the best dog shelters to consider. At Sploot Vets, our dedication to animal rescue and adoption is reflected in our own dog adoption events and partnerships with dog shelters.

Stay connected with us on Instagram (@splootvets) for the latest updates on our upcoming adoption events and dog-friendly events tailored for Chicago pet parents. Be sure to also check out our valuable pet parenting resources, meticulously prepared by the Sploot team!

Sploot Vets: Your Trusted Chicago Vet Clinic

Adopting a dog in Chicago is a rewarding experience for both new and seasoned pet parents alike. Here at Sploot Veterinary Care, we're honored to support you along this journey.

We deliver exceptional and convenient veterinary care, encompassing both primary care and urgent care services all under one roof. You can find our Chicago vet clinics in Logan Square and Roscoe Village, and we're excited to announce more openings in Chicago this year!

With appointments available 365 days a year within our vet clinics' extended hours, we are here to be a reliable source of top-notch veterinary care.

Ready to experience Sploot’s next-level care? Book an appointment online or through the Sploot Vets app. As always, we’re with you every pounce of the way!