How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Dog?
By Jackie Kelly
A common question among dog adopters is, "Why are adoption fees so high? Shouldn’t adopting a dog be free, or at least super cheap?" To these people I say, remember, you get what you pay for.
When you purchase a purebred from a dog breeder you may be paying anywhere from $500 to over $1,000 for your new puppy, but often that’s all you're getting for that cost. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, your adoption fees are going to pay towards the cost of care your adopted dog has received while at the shelter. Which is why adoption fees are often adjusted based on the age of the dog you're adopting. Here is a breakdown of what a good shelter has already put into your dog before you even adopt.
Spay & Neuter
The average cost for veterinary care varies greatly depending on your geographical location (city vs. country), the size of the dog requiring care, as well as the dog's overall picture of health and how it influences the complexity of treatments. That said, the average dog spay or neuter can range from $45-$175 for an animal shelter. However, this doesn’t include the cost of pain relief medication that the shelter will also be responsible for, which is another $10-$30 dollars. If you were to get your adopted dog spayed or neutered on your own it could cost you anywhere from $200-$500 plus, depending on said variables.
The cost of intake vaccinations for dogs to prevent Distemper, Parvo, Kennel Cough, and rabies can cost approximately $40 for the animal shelter — if not more. If your adopted dog has been in the shelter for a few months it has most likely received a monthly booster to keep it safe from shelter related illness. If you were to pay for these vaccinations yourself you could be paying anywhere from $20-$150 dollars.
Parasite Treatments and Preventatives
Monthly flea tick and ear mite treatments as well as heartworm preventives for dogs are another monthly cost for animal shelters. De-wormer medications are often given preventatively as oppose to waiting to see evidence of worms. These treatments can cost approximately $10-$30 assuming that no labs are need. Lyme disease and heartworm tests are also another cost the shelter will incur to ensure that your dog is in good health. If a dog tests positive, Lyme disease treatment can cost anywhere from $20-$100 depending on the size of the dog. However, if a dog needs to be treated for heartworms the treatment can be extremely costly, and on average it’s at least $1,000 if you were to pay for it yourself.