petpy - Python Wrapper of the Petfinder API

Petpy is an unofficial Pythonwrapper of the Petfinder API for interacting with Petfinder’s database of animals and animal welfare organizations.

Getting a Petfinder API and Secret Key

An account must first be created with Petfinder to receive an API and secret key. The API and secret key will be used to grant access to the Petfinder API, which lasts for 3600 seconds, or one hour. After the authentication period ends, you must re-authenticate with the Petfinder API.


petpy is best installed through pip.

pip install petpy

For those of you who prefer it, the library can also be cloned or downloaded into a location of your choosing and then installed using the script per the following:

git clone
cd petpy
python install


  • Python >= 3.6
  • requests >= 2.18.4
  • Although not strictly required to use petpy, the pandas library (>=0.22.0) is needed for returning the results as a DataFrame.


Connecting and using the Petfinder API is as straightforward as initializing the Petfinder() class. The following are several examples for extracting data from the Petfinder database and interacting with the Petfinder API.

Authenticating with the Petfinder API

Authentication to the Petfinder API occurs when the Petfinder() class is initialized.

import petpy
pf = Petfinder(key=API_key, secret=API_secret)

Calls to the API to extract data can now be made!

Finding Animal Types

# All animal types and their relevant data.
all_types = pf.animal_types()

# Returning data for a single animal type
dogs = pf.animal_types('dog')

# Getting multiple animal types at once
cat_dog_rabbit_types = pf.animal_types(['cat', 'dog', 'rabbit'])

Get Breeds of Animal Types

cat_breeds = pf.breeds('cat')
dog_breeds = pf.breeds('dog')

# All available breeds or multiple breeds can also be returned.
all_breeds = pf.breeds()
cat_dog_rabbit = pf.breeds(types=['cat', 'dog', 'rabbit'])

The breeds method can also be set to coerce the returned JSON results into a pandas DataFrame by setting the parameter return_df = True.

cat_breeds_df = pf.breeds('cat', return_df = True)
all_breeds_df = pf.breeds(return_df = True)

Getting animals on Petfinder

The animals() method returns animals based on specified criteria that are listed in the Petfinder database. Specific animals can be searched using the animal_id parameter, or a search of the database can be performed by entering the desired search criteria.

# Getting first 20 results without any search criteria
animals = pf.animals()

# Extracting data on specific animals with animal_ids

animal_ids = []
for i in animals['animals'][0:3]:

animal_data = pf.animals(animal_id=animal_ids)

# Returning a pandas DataFrame of the first 150 animal results
animals = pf.animals(results_per_page=50, pages=3, return_df=True)

Getting animal welfare organizations in the Petfinder database

Similar to the animals() method described above, the organizations() method returns data on animal welfare organizations listed in the Petfinder database based on specific criteria, if any. In addition to a general search of animal welfare organizations, specific organizational data can be extracted by supplying the organizations() method with organization IDs.

# Return the first 1,000 animal welfare organizations as a pandas DataFrame
organizations = pf.organizations(results_per_page=100, pages=10, return_df=True)

# Get organizations in the state of Washington
wa_organizations = pf.organizations(state='WA')

Tutorials and Examples

The following are Jupyter Notebooks (launched in Github) that introduce the petpy package and some examples of its usage. The notebooks can also be launched in an interactive environment with binder

The following are longer usage examples and tutorials that have been posted to external media websites such as