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How Much Does It Cost to Adopt A Dog?

Are you looking to adopt a new dog and furever friend? Adopting a dog is a wonderful thing. First off, you’re saving a dog’s life and giving a good home to a deserving pup. But it can make your life better too. Before you run to the shelter, though, there are some costs you may not know about. So, how much does it cost to adopt a dog? We’re here to help answer that question.

1. Initial Adoption Fees

First things first is the adoption fee. This fee varies depending on several factors including location, what kind of rescue it is (city shelter vs. private organization) as well as age, size and breed of the dog. Adoption fees ranges from free to a couple hundred dollars.

While these fees may seem high, keep in mind how much money the shelter has put into that dog: food, vet care, surgeries, other medical procedures, and sometimes rehab and training. In addition, the adoption fee usually covers spaying or neutering the dog. Often times, a fee will make sure that the adopters are personally and financially ready and able to care for a dog.

2. The Essentials

Dog Food

Dog food is a major expense when getting a dog. The cost of dog food can vary widely depending on brand and ingredients. Some dogs have food intolerances or allergies, which means they’ll need a pricier option. One way to tackle this area is to decide on a food budget based on what you can afford and then feed your dog the best food within that budget.

Other Dog Supplies

Dog supplies beyond food are another major expense. There are the basic necessities like collars and ID tags, leashes, harnesses, food and water bowls, treats and toys. Then there are less necessary but still recommended supplies like dog crates (make sure it’s big enough for your dog to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably), dog beds, dog sweaters or coats for certain breeds, and more.

Pro Tip: If you know you want to adopt a dog in the near future, start buying dog supplies like collars and leashes, before you adopt. And look for sales!

Vet Bills

A big, big cost of owning a dog is the medical care. Vets can cost a lot but are an absolute must for your pup. Not only will the first vet fee be pretty pricey but remember that this will be an ongoing expense. And of course there are always unexpected costs and visits for injuries, surgeries, illnesses, hospitalizations, etc.

Pro Tip: One way to help handle vet bills is to put aside money specifically for your dog’s medical care. You can set aside a certain amount each month to help you prepare for both routine care and emergencies.

3. The Extras

Dog Training

Most dogs will need some form of training. Trained dogs are happy dogs and safer members of your family. In the case of adopting, many dogs are no longer puppies and their backgrounds or pasts are often a mystery. This means you won’t know what your dog may need help with, behaviorally. If your furbaby is good with other dogs and people, training classes are a great option and usually cost in the hundreds for a six-week course. Another option is private training but this is quite a bit pricier than classes.

Dog Walking / Dog Sitting

If you don’t work from home, your dog could be alone in your house for a while. Many dogs are fine on their own but some are not. For the latter, you may want to look into dog walking or dog sitting. In addition, whether you’re home during the day or not, you’ll need a dog sitter or doggie day care for when you travel without your canine companion.

Pet Insurance

A lot of pet owners are investing in pet insurance to help cover pricey vet bills and unexpected medical expenses. Pet insurance plans can reimburse you for exam fees, medicine, diagnostic testing, surgeries, hospitalizations and more. But these plans come with a monthly cost and some won’t cover dogs with pre-existing medical conditions.

Your Home

One thing that many people don’t think about when adopting a dog is what kind of home you live in, where you live and whether it will work for your new pup. Sometimes, you adopt a dog and realize that where you live isn’t right for him or her. For example, maybe you discover that your pup has anxiety around other dogs or people and can no longer live in the apartment you have. Or perhaps your dog grows to be larger or taller than expected and needs more space or a yard. In other words, one potential cost of adopting a dog could involve you moving eventually.

So, how much does it cost to adopt a dog?

The answer to this varies based on several factors including, but not limited to, your particular adoption fees, a dog’s age and health, where you live, what lifestyle you have, and beyond. But no matter what, owning a pup will have its costs, both ongoing and unexpected.

If the cost of adopting a dog makes you hesitate, it probably means you’re not quite ready to become a dog parent. Adopting a dog is an amazing way to add to your family but it’s important to give a dog the proper care and that means spending money. It’s beyond worth it but not until you’re ready to take the financial leap.

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