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Paws to Consider: Shelters and Resources for Pet Lovers in the Capital Region   Tags: animal rescue, animal shelters, cats, dogs, frederick county, montgomery county, no-kill shelter, pet adoption, pet care, pets, prince george's county, washington dc  

Paws to Consider is an online LibGuide and print resource for those in the Capital Region wishing to adopt a cat or dog as well as current pet owners.
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

General Resources Print Page

General Shelter Information for Metro DC Area

Some shelters and rescue organizations, although based in one particular county, serve the entire Capital Region and are good sources of pet adoptions:

  • Last Chance Animal Rescue, 4499 Leonardtown Rd., Waldorf, MD 20601, Office: (301) 274-9409, Clinic: (301) 885-0263,—Last Chance rescues cats and dogs from high-kill municipal shelters and offers them for adoption. Adoptable animals can be seen at adoption events (listed on LCAR's Facebook page) and cats are available for adoption at specified locations in PetSmart and Petco stores in MD, VA, and DC. LCAR also partners with the Paw Prints Animal Hospital in Waldorf, MD to offer low-cost vaccinations and wellness exams and with the Spay Spot for reduced cost spay/neuter surgery.

  • Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, Phone: (703) 295-DOGS; for inquiries regarding general information:; dogs:; cats: - Like Last Chance, Lost Dog & Cat recruits volunteers from around the area to foster animals that would otherwise be at risk for euthanization, and also holds adoption events at local PetSmarts and Petcos where you can meet a prospective family member.

  • Shelter Finder, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an online tool for locating shelters in your area.

  • The Shelter Pet Project is an initiative of the Humane Society of the United States. It has a shelter finder tool, powered by, on its home page and links to resources on pet care.

  • Maryland SPCAbased in Baltimore, Maryland, this non-profit organization provides a web hosting service for individuals throughout Maryland faced with surrendering their pets, as well as an adoption and fostering service, medical care, spay and neuter clinic for both domestic and feral cats, behavioral training, and Kibble Connection, which provides food for owners that are unable to purchase food for their pets. Their office phone number is (410) 235-8826.
  • Robocalls for Lost Pets-One option for finding a lost dog or cat is to place an announcement for a fee with one of the robocall pet-finding services such as Find Toto. A robocall is sent out to households in your area with a description of your lost pet and information on how to contact you. It can be an effective way to find and be reunited with your pet. See this article in the Washington Post for more information.


    General Animal Care Resources

    Here are some links to general resources on pet health and care:


    • Pet Care resources, American Society for the Preventation of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), ASPCA, a national organization devoted to animal welfare, maintains online guides for the care of dogs, cats, horses, and small animals, as well as links to low-cost spay/neuter resources, pet nutrition, disaster preparedness, and other topics.
    • Animal Health and Veterinary Medicine and Companion Animal Resource pages, Animal Welfare Information Center, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD, 301-504-6212, has links to online resources as well as publications by AWIC, a division of the US Department of Agriculture established as part of the Animal Welfare Act. AWIC also provides an online form where you can submit a reference question about animal health and welfare.

    • The Animal House, a weekly radio program produced by WAMU (88.5 FM) a Washington-based National Public Radio station at American University. Dr. Gary Weitzman, a veterinarian from the San Diego Humane Society, answers callers' questions and emails about their pets. The show also features stories on many topics pertaining to both wild and domestic animals, and past episodes and stories are archived on its website.

    • Companion Animal Health Resource Center, Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, has an online guide to common communicable diseases in dogs and information on vaccinations and disease prevention.

    • Dog Star Daily, a blog dedicated to canine behavior and training.

    • Feline Health Topics, Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Cornell Feline Health Center is one of the nation's leading research and education centers for cat health. CFHC offers an online guide to common feline health issues and online and print brochures on health topics. Print brochures can be ordered by calling 607-253-3443.

    • The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has online guides on caring for companion animals such as cats, dogs, ferrets, fish, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, horses, mice, rabbits, and rats.

    • The Latham Foundation is a private organization dedicated to humane education, animal-assisted therpay, and the human-companion animal bond. Their Research and Resources page includes articles on selecting a vet, clicker training for dogs, and animal-assisted therapy.
    • Maryland is an online resource for information about pets in Maryland and in surrounding areas in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
    • My, a free service of the American Veterinary Medical Association where you can locate a veterinary practice in your area.

    • Pet Care, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), comprehensive and free online guide covering a range of pet care topics, including nutrition, spay/neuter, disaster preparedness, and animal poison control.

    • Pet Lovers Companion, P.O. Box 239 Mount Vernon, VA 22121 703-780-4400, Although this is a commercial advertising website and circular, it provides comprehensive information and links on pet care and products, shelters, veterinarians, and other services in the Metro DC area.

    • Pets and Toxic Plants web page, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, an online guide to common household plants that are toxic to dogs and cats.

    • is a national organization and online resource where one can search for adoptable pets by type and location. Many Metro DC area shelters and rescue organizations list their adoptable animals on Petfinder. Petfinder also provides pet care information and videos on its website.

    • Pets911 is a free, nationwide website where pet owners can place announcements and photos of lost pets.
    • Recursos para Personas que Hablan Español, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). (Although intended for residents of New York City, this page provides information in Spanish about caring for pets/Aunque destinado a los residentes de la ciudad de Nueva York, esta página proporciona información en español sobre el cuidado de mascotas).

    • is a free online directory of general and specialist veterinarians.
    • Four Cities Initiative:No Cost Spay/Neuter Voucher Program
      Funded by a grant from the MD State Department of Agriculture, pet owners may apply for a FREE voucher to spay/neuter their cat or dog. The Four Cities Initiative is being organized by the animal control departments of Greenbelt, College Park, Berwyn Heights, and New Carrollton, but you do not have to be a resident of these four cities to qualify. An application form is available for download on the program website. Vouchers available until grant funds are exhausted. Applicants should be current residents of the state of Maryland and must meet just ONE of ten requirements. There is a limit of one voucher per address/household.

    Useful Publications

    Cover Art
    Ask the vet about cats : easy answers to commonly asked questions - Wexler-Mitchell, Elaine
    ISBN: 19319930099781931993005
    Publication Date: 2003
    The book is broken down by specific subjects, and answers over 80 of the most commonly asked questions concerning the health and well-being of your feline, from birth to its senior years. Topics covered include behavior, diet, general health, vaccines, first aid and emergency care, as well as reproduction and geriatrics.

    Cover Art
    ASPCA complete cat care manual - Edney, A.T.B.; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Publication Date: 1992
    The ASPCA Complete Cat Care Manual is a practical guide endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it covers everything cat owners need to know. The distinctive photographic approach, featuring more than 600 full-color photos, actually show you all the answers to every question. The first section of the book provides detailed information on the basic day-to-day car of kittens and adult cats, including feeding, training, handling, exercising, essential equipment, and grooming. Later chapters outline the reasons behind behavioral problems, such as eating houseplants and scratching furniture, and provide tips for changing unacceptable behavior. Health problems are completely detailed with anatomical diagrams, diagnostic charts, and illustrations that identify symptoms and treatments. Step-by-step instructions teach all the techniques needed to nurse a sick animal or administer emergency first aid.

    Cover Art
    ASPCA complete dog care manual - Fogle, Bruce; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Publication Date: 1993
    Covers feeding, grooming, training, breeding, general health, and first aid.

    Cover Art
    Catnip: The Newsletter for Caring Cat Owners - Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
    Publication Date: Monthly periodical
    Catnip is a monthly nationally-circulated newsletter for caring cat owners presenting feline medical and behavioral information. All published articles are reviewed by board members who are affiliated with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and its hospitals.

    Cover Art
    Center for Companion Animal Health Newsletter - Center for Companion Animal Health, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
    Publication Date: Quarterly newsletter
    The CCAH Update newsletters cover recent activities at the CCAH and selected topics of interest to pet lovers. PDF versions of current and past newsletters may be downloaded for free.

    Feline Husbandry - Pederson, Niels, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
    Publication Date: 1991
    "Feline Husbandry", authored and edited by Dr. Niels C. Pedersen of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, was originally published in 1991. The book struck a chord with breeders of purebred cats, is a respected resource covering all aspects of managing feline health in catteries. The author's intent is that the book should be a highly useful tool to improve the way cats are managed by both new and experienced breeders of purebred cats. Only 3800 copies of the book were printed, and it is now out of print. Copies of the book have become collector's items, difficult to find and expensive to purchase. Demand for the book remains strong, and large parts of the text are both current and relevant. The Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH) is pleased to provide a copy of the book in .pdf format on this web site as a resource for cat breeders who are unable to find a copy elsewhere.

    Information Resources on the Care and Welfare of Dogs - Animal Welfare Information Center, National Agricultural Library
    Publication Date: March 2008
    An extensive bibliography categorized into fifteen subject subsections covering all aspects of dog husbandry, health, and welfare comprises this section of the publication. Citations were selected from searches conducted using a variety of agricultural, medical, and life science databases. Also includes a list of web resources.

    Merck Veterinary Manual for Veterinary Professionals - Aiello, Susan; Moses, Michael
    Publication Date: Ongoing
    Merck has created The Merck Manuals, a series of books for human and animal health care professionals and for the general public. As a service to the community, the content of The Manuals is available free of charge in enhanced online versions. The online versions are updated periodically with new information and contain illustrations and audio and video material not present in the print versions.

    Cover Art
    The complete healthy dog handbook : the definitive guide to keeping your pet happy, healthy & active - Brevitz, Betsy
    ISBN: 97807611541290761154124
    Publication Date: 2009
    The new bible of dog care. Written by a veterinarian with a gift for presenting complex information in a lively, accessible way. Clear and complete on every aspect of preventative care, nutrition, first aid, injuries and emergencies. Over 100 illustrations and dozens of checklists, charts and graphs. Includes Health Profiles for 143 of the Most Popular Breeds.

    Cover Art
    The Cornell book of cats : a comprehensive medical reference for every cat and kitten - Seigel, Mordecai; Cornell Feline Health Center
    Publication Date: 1997 (Rev. edition)
    The Cornell Book of Cats is an inexhaustible source of current medical information that covers the whole range of feline health, including how to understand, identify, and correct a cat's behavior problems; guidelines for selecting a breed; nutrition, with instructions on how to properly feed a kitten or an adult cat, an obese cat, a sick cat, or an aging cat.

    Cover Art
    The Whole dog journal handbook of dog and puppy care and training - Whole Dog Journal, Nancy Kerns, ed.
    Publication Date: 2008
    Written by the Whole Dog Journal’s editors, this fully illustrated handbook equips you with the tools to understand your dog, encourage physical and emotional wellness, and to elicit full potential and vitality to do it naturally. Champions common sense and compassion when it comes to addressing a dog’s illness or injuries…from the judicious use of vaccines to effective herbal and holistic treatments for those diseases that can threaten your dog’s life.

    Cover Art
    Your Dog - Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
    Publication Date: Monthly periodical
    Your Dog is a monthly nationally-circulated newsletter for caring dog owners presenting canine medical and behavioral information. All published articles are reviewed by board members who are affiliated with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and its hospitals.


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