Adopting Innovation: The New Tech Making Pet Shelters More Efficient

The app store on your phone is filled with programs promising to improve nearly every facet of your life. But amidst all the self-help and digital organization tools, there are also innovative apps working behind the scenes to enhance animal welfare. Modern technology is transforming animal shelters and rescue organizations in subtle yet meaningful ways.

Where once tedious tasks like tracking medical histories and organizing adoptions were done by hand, apps and platforms now help streamline the process to save money, time and stress. Specialized software helps create a continuum of care between organizations by securely sharing animal records digitally instead of on paper. Other programs facilitate foster coordination or make it easier for volunteers to sign up for shifts.

The tech solutions helping reshape animal welfare range from in-house platforms designed by rescue groups to apps created through partnerships with major tech companies. But many of the most creative and helpful tools come from ordinary volunteers eager to use their coding skills for good. Tapping their passion for animal advocacy, these tech-savvy volunteers design customized applications to fill gaps in care. Their solutions empower not just the animals, but the selfless shelter staff and volunteers working tirelessly for them behind the scenes each day.

Just as apps can now simplify and better human lives in so many ways, technology is also making life better for vulnerable animals reliant on human protection and compassion. Tech gives them new hope by making helping them easier than ever.

Technology for better adoption processes

Back in the 1990s, the launch of pet adoption websites started changing the way that shelters operated. On platforms such as the Humane Society of New York, people showcase information about pets needing homes. With the data becoming more accessible, it resulted in more pet adoptions – and more adoptions will result in fewer animals having to be put down. This approach has evolved, as social media became another tool to get the word out.

Now, humans are taking this to a whole new level, turning pet adoptions into a type of online matchmaking service. For example, by asking potential pet owners to complete a simple quiz, agencies are able to match them to pets that are more suited to their expectations, home setups and lifestyles. 

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A welcome outcome of this is that fewer animals end up being returned because of incompatibility. It also increases the chances of pets that are usually ignored getting noticed, adopted and loved.  

Even home checks can be done virtually. You can simply make a video call and walk through your home to show all the necessary details, such as whether windows can close properly to prevent cats from escaping.

These methods speed up adoption processes, which brings multiple benefits:

  • For shelters, it means that space gets freed up faster, so they can help more animals. 
  • People hoping to adopt will appreciate the streamlined process. Then, there’s less chance of them getting frustrated with delays and instead turning to a breeder or not adopting at all. 

Integrated vet care

A major reason for pets often being surrendered relates to veterinary care:

  • Pet owners can’t afford a visit to their local vet.
  • They don’t know how to handle a pet’s medical condition and can’t figure it out on their own.
  • current digital world, man’s ‘best’ current digital world, man’s ‘best’ current digital world, man’s ‘best’ current digital world, man’s ‘best’ A pet owner lives in a remote area without veterinary services nearby.

Now, if humans can benefit from telehealth, why not animals? 

This is actually taking place in the form of providing virtual access to a veterinarian. You can discuss your pet’s health issues with the vet either via audio or video. With some services offering 24/7 access, it’s even helpful in emergency situations. 

Some of these vet telehealth services are subscription based, but the rates aren’t exorbitant. This helps people in poorer communities gain access to quality pet care, and if they use it proactively, it can decrease future vet costs and reduce animals’ suffering and even deaths. 

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Getting the Word Out

Homeless dog almost gets left behind, until this happens... | Blossom As seen on The Dodo

The work in animal shelters often falls on the shoulders of volunteers. You want to retain the dedicated personnel, so making the work easier for volunteers is a win. Technology can automate or simplify the administrative side of a shelter, such as but not limited to:

  • Communication: Make communication with all groups – volunteers, adopters or staff – easy by using a type of CRM software system. 
  • Animal details: Track all activities related to each animal, such as interested adopters. Shelters can follow up with just a few clicks and possibly secure more adoptions, without too much manual work on the part of volunteers. Also add known medical history to a database, so you can provide detailed information to potential owners. Having more facts on hand can increase the chances of someone adopting an older dog. 
  • Microchip data: Link a shelter with microchip databases, so chipped animals have a better chance of being reunited with their original owners. 
  • Financial management: Many shelters continuously face financial pressure. Using software to track cash flow and monitor food stock can help toward more efficient use of available funds. Also, a database of donors to whom you can send automated messages can result in more regular donations. 

Free Pet Microchip Databases

  1. 24PetWatch
    • Website: 24PetWatch
    • Features: Offers free microchip registration and is accessible for all microchip brands.
  2. Pet Microchip Lookup
    • Website: Pet Microchip Lookup
    • Features: Not a registry itself, but a tool to identify which registry a microchip is enrolled in.
  3. Free Pet Chip Registry
  4. 911PetChip & Free Pet Chip Registry
    • Website:
    • Features: Offers free registration and is compatible with any brand of microchip.
  5. HomeAgain
    • Website:
    • Features: Free to register, but some services may require a subscription.
  6. AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool
  7. PetLink
    • Website:
    • Features: Registration is free and available for all microchip brands.
  8. SmartTag
    • Website:
    • Features: Offers free registration for SmartTag microchips.
  9. AKC Reunite
    • Website:
    • Features: Free for chips with prepaid enrollment; otherwise, there’s a fee for lifetime enrollment.
  10. InfoPET
    • Website:
    • Features: Free registration for any brand of microchip.