How much does it cost to adopt a dog (in the US)?




Congratulations! You are thinking of adding a new furry friend to your family and what better way than to adopt a dog that needs a loving home?

There are so many things to consider when adding a new pet to your family that it can quickly become overwhelming.

When preparing for a new dog it is vital that you do a little bit of budgeting to see if you can afford the new addition.

There is the cost of vets visits, medication, food, toys, beds, treats and maybe even puppy school! But what about the cost of adopting the dog in the first place? How much is the average cost of adopting a dog in the United States?


Why is adopting a dog so expensive?

So maybe you have already had a little look around the shelters in your area and have been blown away by the cost of adopting a dog. Usually, rescue dogs are much cheaper than a pedigree puppy from a responsible breeder however, they do not come free!

You must consider that when a rescue centre is taking on a stray or unwanted dog that the dog will often come with endless health issues that if left untreated, can be incredibly serious.

It is also common for rescue dogs to need dental care or X-rays due to injuries from traffic. There are a large variety of medical costs that come with street dog territory that the rescue needs to be able to pay.

There is also a high likelihood that the dog you are adopting came to the rescue centre without any vaccinations. They had also probably never been dewormed before or had any flea or tick treatments. The cost of deworming a dog with a worm infection can quickly skyrocket. If they had heartworm they may even have needed multiple X-rays which aren’t cheap!

Any responsible rescue centre will also want to be sure that nobody is adopting one of their dogs with the intention of breeding from them. To prevent this, most shelters will require that every dog is spayed or neutered before they leave for their new home. This can cost between $100 and $150 for the shelter. If you compare the cost of a spay or neuter procedure at a shelter against the cost of the same procedure at a regular vet’s office, you will see you are getting a pretty good deal at the shelter!

There is also the behaviour assessment and the intake exam that the shelter has to pay for along with the regular running costs of the shelter. Even if your dog was taken in by the shelter and found to be completely healthy, the shelter will still have spent a large amount of money on them over the course of their stay.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

The cost of adopting a dog from a shelter in the US can vary slightly depending on the dog you are interested in rehoming and the location of the shelter.

The lowest price, for adopting a dog,  that we have found advertised was $50 while the highest price can go up to $500!

On average though you should be expecting to pay around $300 for adopting a dog in the US. This should leave you with a full vaccination, spayed or neutered new member of your family who has been deemed an appropriate new dog for your family.

Even though $300 seems like a lot of money, you have to consider that not many other places that you can purchase a dog from would do their best to asses that dogs behaviour and match it with your family. You are also getting a dog that has had a thorough vet investigation and is up to date with all of its vaccinations, flea treatments, deworming programmes and dental checkups. Even if the dog was neglected before, the shelter will not be allowing them to be adopted until they are fit and healthy so consider $300 to be a pretty good deal!

Can you save any money on dog adoption fees?

For most of the dogs that are up for adoption in a shelter, there isn’t any wiggle room with their price. If you don’t mind a senior dog, some shelters put them at a lower price to make them more appealing for potential dog owners. You can also sometimes find a lower-priced dog if that specific dog has been in the shelter for a longer amount of time. These dogs are often the ones that need new owners the most so not only would you be saving money but you would also be giving a loving new home to one of the dogs who need it the most!

Are there any hidden costs to adopting a dog?

Usually, shelters are very upfront about the dog you are choosing to adopt and will be happy to fully disclose that dog’s medical history as far as they know it. Unfortunately, most of the dogs in animal shelters have a pretty unknown past so occasionally you will be adopting a dog with a health or behavioural condition. Normally shelters will already have discovered these problems for you though and will be happy to talk you through them before you adopt a dog. You also cannot guarantee that a pedigree puppy would not develop any of these conditions.

The price you are told by the shelter is often the only price you need to pay. There are not normally any hidden costs with adopting a new dog from a rescue centre!

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