You’re ready to take the next big step in your life: adopting a dog or cat! By providing a safe and loving home for an animal, you’re bringing joy to both yourself and your new best friend. But before you go to the shelter, you’ll want to know the answer to one of the most burning questions any new pet owner faces. How much does it cost to own a dog or cat? For part one, we’ll cover the where you can get a new cat or dog and the associated pet cost. Stay tuned for part two, when we’ll cover ongoing pet costs, including medical, training, food and more!

Is pet adoption free?

It can be common for shelters, rescue groups, or charity organizations to offer promotions that waive adoption fees to support adoption of their current pets but be ready for a cost without that offer! Typically, fees can range anywhere from $50-$500 depending on location, breed, age, and more. Both dogs and cats offer a wide variety of influences on the cost of adoption, so it’s best to ask your local shelter or rescue group today.

If you get your pet from a breeder, you can expect to pay a much larger fee. Unlike shelters, these animals rarely, if ever, are subject to discounts or promotional offers that ease the financial burden of adoption.

Another important note that comes with the adoption of your pet is that pets adopted under a promotional offer usually do not come with medical care, like spay/neutering, microchipping, or any other care needed for an existing health condition. You may be saving up front but experiencing larger medical bills after adoption!

Shelters and Rescue Pet Cost

For owners looking to help a pet in need and reduce the financial impact of bringing a loving companion into their life, shelters and rescues provide the ultimate value. The adoption fee typically covers shots, spay or neuter procedures, and any other veterinary care that is needed to get them back to health!

These shelters often have reduced fees if you’re interested in adopting senior cats and dogs to bring them out of the shelter. Puppies and kittens can run the high end of the price line, as they’re the most sought out. And when it comes to the question of how much does a dog or cat cost per month, older dogs can provide you with just as much love for a fraction of the cost!

Cats: Adoption fees for cats typically run up to $200, depending on where you live, the age of the cat, and if the shelter or rescue is running a special promotion.

Dogs: Dog adoption fees can vary but typically cost less than $350. Age, breed, size, location, and required veterinary care can determine the adoption costs.

If your local shelter is associated with your city or otherwise local government, they may have additional funding that can drive the adoption fees even lower. Because rescues are often funded solely by the adoption fees they gather, these fees can be slightly higher to cover the necessary costs.

Shelter and rescue adoption fees may include:

  • Veterinary exam
  • Spay or neuter
  • Initial vaccinations (e.g., bordetella [“kennel cough”], distemper, parvo, and others)
  • Initial deworming
  • Diagnostic tests (e.g., heartworm test for dogs, feline leukemia and FIV test for cats)
  • Flea and tick treatment
  • Microchip

After you adopt a rescue or shelter dog, you’ll need to schedule a regular checkup for your new pet’s wellness – thankfully, THRIVE Affordable Vet Care offers a comprehensive nose-to-tail pet exam to get your new best friend ready for their new home! You’re first visit, and every pet exam after, can be free when you sign up for THRIVE PLUS™ – a membership program for you and your new pet! Enjoy unlimited pet exams, 10% off services, 10% off Petco Dog Grooming and Dog Training, VIP perks and more!

Breeder Pet Cost

Breeders present a different side of adoption. In exchange for adopting a breed of cat or dog that you seek the cost will be much higher. Breeders mostly breed for profit – you’re not only paying for the cost of the animal, but also the salary of the breeder!

The price bump will only escalate if you’re looking for designer or rare breeds. And with consideration for location or demand of the breed, a breeder’s fee can be hard to nail down. Typically, the purchase price includes a dog or cat’s first round of shots and deworming. However, additional medical costs, such as spay or neuter, microchip, or pre-existing medical condition coverage will not be covered by the breeder’s fee.

No matter what option you choose, your new pet will always be worth the cost. While the costs for bringing a pet into your home may be high, if you go in prepared, you’ll be ready for them. Check back next week for part two of how much a pet cost in the THRIVE Guide!

Do you have more questions about being a pet parent? Be sure to check out the THRIVE Guide for Pet Parents weekly to get the answers to your most popular questions. For specific questions and routine care, book an appointment at your local THRIVE. Our veterinarians are here to provide exceptional and essential care for your pet. Don’t wait – book a nose-to-tail pet exam today!