Are you looking to adopt a new furever friend? Adopting a dog is a wonderful thing. First off, it’s a good deed - you’re saving a dog’s life and giving a deserving pup a good home. It can make your life better too. But before you run to the shelter or local adoption event, there are some costs that 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 and other medical procedures, and sometimes rehab and training. The adoption fee also usually covers spaying or neutering the dog. In addition, it makes sure that the people adopting the dog are personally and financially ready and able to care for a dog
2. The Essentials
Dog food is a major expense when adopting a dog. The cost of dog food differs depending on brand and ingredients. Several dogs have food intolerances or allergies, which means they’ll need a pricier option of food. A good rule of thumb 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!
A big, big cost to 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
Most dogs will need some form of training and it’s recommended when owning any dog. 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 and 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 and your hours are pretty consistent at a 9-to-5 job, 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 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.
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.
One thing that a lot of people don’t always think about when adopting a dog is what kind of home you live in and whether that will work for him or her. Sometimes, you adopt a dog and realize after some time (and getting to know your pup) that where you live isn’t right for him or her. For example, maybe your dog ends up having issues with other dogs or people and can no longer live in an apartment. Or perhaps your dog grows to be very big and needs more space and a yard. All of this is to say that adopting a dog may mean you have to end up moving eventually, which has all kinds of associated costs.
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 and what lifestyle you have. 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 any 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.