Does Petco Take in Animals (All You Need To Know)

Petco is one of the largest suppliers of pets anywhere in the country, and it also provides avenues for adoption through its stores and website.

If you have a pet that you no longer want, and you’re looking for somewhere to surrender it, Petco seems like a sensible option. Therefore, read this article to learn all you need to know before making the trip!

Does Petco Take in Animals In [currentyear]?

Petco will take in animals under a few circumstances, but it isn’t guaranteed in [currentyear]. If it’s an animal you bought from Petco, and you no longer want it, the store could take it back. However, if it’s another kind, you might have some luck with a good store manager, but they generally won’t accept it.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about surrendering animals to Petco, including which ones they take in, alternative places to surrender pets, and more!

Does Petco Take in Unwanted Animals?

Petco’s official policy seems to be that it only takes in animals if you’re returning one you purchased from a Petco store less than 30 days before.

This means that Petco generally doesn’t accept all unwanted animals.

However, people that have real-world experience with this practice as employees of the chain say that they regularly take in animals.

This is down to the person in charge of the store, i.e. the manager. If they personally agree to take in animals, they can inform the store employees and can accept surrendered pets.

According to the source quoted above, the employees say that they have accepted everything from birds to fish and bearded dragons.

All of these were from people living near the store who no longer wanted the pets, so they brought them in.

Petco might refuse to take in unwanted animals because of risks such as disease, or the pet having been stolen.

In some of the cases cited in the source, the animals were either taken to an animal shelter or home by an employee after being surrendered, as opposed to being sold in the store.

Officially, Petco has the Think Adoption First program, whose objectives include helping anyone find a new home for their unwanted pet.

The company says that this program assists pet owners with relocating their pets, no matter how long they have had it.

Due to the adoption factor, this program likely covers the animals that Petco chooses to put up for adoption rather than sale, i.e. dogs, cats, and rabbits.

Petco has partnered with several animal rescue centers around its stores to provide these animals, and that’s who they’ll work with to rehome unwanted pets.

Does Petco Take in Dogs?

Petco’s Think Adoption First program means that it can take in an unwanted dog and help you find a new home for it.

Does Petco Take in Cats?

According to the terms of Petco’s Think Adoption First program, a store might take in your unwanted cat and help you find a new home for it through one of the animal shelters it works with.

Does Petco Take in Turtles?

Petco might take in unwanted turtles depending on the store manager at the location you’re considering.

Official company policy might not say they will automatically do it, but individual store managers could decide to accept surrendered turtles.

Does Petco Take in Guinea Pigs?

Does Petco Take in Guinea Pigs?

Petco takes in unwanted guinea pigs in some circumstances.

Aside from returning one if you purchased it less than 30 days before from the store, the manager might accept unwanted guinea pigs from the public.

Does Petco Take in Fish?

Petco does not officially take in fish, unless you bought it less than 30 days before, but depending on the store, the manager might allow it.

Does Petco Take in Reptiles?

Petco does not always take in reptiles, unless it’s a return you bought less than 30 days before. However, depending on the store manager, they could take it.

On Reddit, some Petco employees said they took in some uncommon reptiles, such as bearded dragons and leopard geckos.

Where Can Animals Be Surrendered?

If you have a pet you don’t want any longer, you can try one of the following options:

1. Pet Stores

As stated above, you can surrender some animals to certain Petco stores, and possibly other pet stores.

You would have a better chance if it was a common pet, like a dog or cat, because Petco can rehome them easily through an animal shelter.

2. Animal Shelters

If this option is not available to you, you can go directly to the animal shelter.

Their whole business model relies on taking in animals that would be worse off without a home so they can keep them safe in the meantime.

Taking a pet you don’t want to an animal shelter, however, will almost always mean you have to pay a fee because these places usually have strays instead of animals brought in by walk-ins.

3. Ask a Vet For Help

You can also ask the veterinarian you take the pet to for advice on where to surrender it. They will often have information on shelters and other animal welfare organizations in the area.

4. Find a New Owner Directly

You could try putting a pet you don’t want on the internet, either for sale or for free to someone who can care for it.

Use a platform that can reach people in your area so the handoff is easier. These include Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on Petco fish return policy, does Petco sell dogs & puppies, and if Petco sells bunnies.


Petco does not officially take in animals because of the risks involved, but the store near you might if the manager allows it. Officially, Petco’s Think Adoption First program helps people find new homes for their unwanted pets, usually dogs and cats.

If Petco refuses, you can surrender unwanted pets to your local animal shelter or other related animal welfare organization. You can also ask your local vet for other places near you where you can take an unwanted animal.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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