What is the Cost of Adopting a Dog?

Apr 16, 2020     |      Sophie's Circle

A woman hugging her adopted dog.Are you considering adopting a dog and searching for a guide on related expenses to add to your household budget? First of all, let us congratulate you on this wonderful decision that will impact your life with too many rewards to list here. To help you start figuring out if now is the right time to adopt or if you should wait to save room in your spending for your furry companion, we have compiled this list of the top seven costs associated with dog ownership. 

Initial Expense 
The first cost to consider is the upfront fee to adopt. Although the fees can vary, they are considerably lower than reputable breeders oftentimes saving hundreds of dollars. Adoption fees help cover necessities for the dogs, such as food and medical treatments.

Spaying and Neutering Cost
Great news! Many rescues have already spayed or neutered before being placed on the adoption page in an effort to reduce the population of dogs in need of loving homes. Therefore, it is likely you will also save hundreds of dollars more by adopting a rescue as these procedures can run anywhere from $200 to $800. If, however, you adopt a dog who has not yet been spayed or neutered, you will need to call around to the local area veterinarians to learn the specific amount you will need to add to the budget for your dog adoption. Be sure to ask about microchipping as well during the call in event the dog you select has not already been microchipped.

Dog Food
To estimate the costs of your dog's food, it helps to research the brands on sites like DogFoodAdvisor. Once you know the brands you would buy as a dog owner, it is time to browse the local and online stores for cost. Keep in mind factors like the dog's age, size, and known underlying medical conditions may change the formula or size of the bag you select from the brand you like. Also, your dog may eat more or less depending on the brand and formula you end up purchasing plus your dog's eating habits. 

Routine Vet Appointments
Just like humans, animals need wellness visits to catch and proactively treat any health conditions each year. Puppies may also have more trips to the veterinarian while young where adult dogs are less likely to need more care than annual wellness visits and recommended vaccinations until they are in their senior years, with the exception of those dogs who have health conditions requiring medical treatment. If adopting a senior dog, your costs may not be as high as you might think since many veterinarians are willing to assist with medical care for elderly dogs in need of a home who have been diagnosed with certain health conditions. Have a senior dog in mind? Call your animal clinic to find out what costs you may need to consider using the information found on the adoption page for the discussion.

Extras for Protection, Comfort, and Fun!
The first thing to do after you decide to adopt a dog is to get his environment ready with the correct-sized crate and a comfortable location to sleep, some barriers inside the home to keep him safe and reduce anxiety. Once you have adopted your pet, take him to the local pet store for a collar, leash, personalized tags, dog bed, appropriate treats and toys, and more. For budget purposes, we suggest making a list of items and their price by browsing the pet store ahead of time and doing some research on the type of fence you may want for the size dog you expect to adopt. 

Vacays and Daycare 
If you are away from the home for longer than six hours at a time or you take a vacation, it is nice to have a few pet sitting, boarding, or dog walking options in case one is unavailable. For those who do not have family and neighbors who enjoy dog-sitting duties, it may be helpful to search sites like Rover to get an idea of boarding fees, daycare, and dog walker fees. Then, if you prefer a set business location for your dog's stay, check out the local boarding kennels and animal clinics to see which one would be right for you. 

Additional Considerations 
Depending on your dog's grooming needs, you may find it useful to contact local groomers and trainers to discover potential fees involved. Furthermore, there will inevitably be those days when medical care and food budgets have to expand to cover emergencies and medical concerns related to aging or special care needs. Finally, although many rescues are housebroken and leash trained, you may find your pet could use some training to strengthen your bond and relieve anxiety or you may want to teach your dog new tricks to create moments you will cherish. The good news is training just takes 20 minutes per day of your time and minimal, if any, extra expense as there are many books and free training sessions online to get you started.

As you can see from the above list of expenses, owning a dog means you are caring for a living animal with needs much like our own. While this does mean making allowances for those costs in the family budget, the rewards your rescue gives you in return are immeasurable! If you are ready to adopt after reviewing these costs, please see which rescue is waiting to become your new best friend by visiting our adoption page today.