Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
Rescue Dogs

Rescue Dogs In America – How Much Do They Cost?

Rachel Poli Author
Apr 4 ·

If you’re looking to add a new furry friend to your family, then the best way to go is through an animal shelter or rescue organization. But how much do rescue dogs typically cost in America? We’ll discuss that and more in this article. 

Where Can You Adopt A Dog?

According to the ASPCA, about 3.1 million dogs are in animal shelters or rescue organizations.

Some of these dogs are often found as strays wandering the streets. Maybe they got out of their yard and haven’t been reunited with their owners. Or perhaps their owners abandoned them.

No matter the reason, there are countless dogs of a wide range of ages, from puppies to seniors, who are looking for a forever home.

Rescue Dogs In America

So, you can adopt a dog from a rescue organization or go through an animal shelter. But how much will it cost you?

How Much Do Rescue Dogs Typically Cost In America?

Going through an animal shelter or a rescue organization will save you money in the long run. For instance, if you go through a breeder, they’ll charge you a premium for the dog depending on its age and the breed.

On the other hand, shelters and rescues simply want to see the dogs go to a good home. These organizations are non-profit and will do what they can to help all the dogs find their forever home.

So, let’s talk about how much you can expect to pay for a pup at a shelter or rescue.

Rescue Dogs In America – Adoption Fees

First, there’s the adoption fee. Remember, shelters and rescues are non-profit organizations. So, they need to make a little money somehow to keep their shelter up and running.

However, these adoption fees include what the shelter has already done for the dog. For example, the shelter may spay or neuter the dog upon arrival. So, some of that cost will reflect in the adoption fee.

Typically, the adoption fee may cost anywhere between $50 and $400.

Again, this cost varies depending on the dog’s age and any vaccinations the shelter may have needed to give them.

For example, it could include the following:

  • Intake service
  • Routine vaccinations
  • Spay or neutering
  • Heartworm, flea, and tick tests and prevention
  • Microchip
  • Behavior assessment and physical examination upon arrival to the shelter
  • Operation fee (to keep the shelter running)
Rescue Dogs In America

Rescue Dogs In America – Medical Costs And Vaccinations

In addition, the dog may cost a bit more if they need medical attention.

Upon arrival, the dog will receive a physical examination by a vet. If they need any medication or treatment, the shelter will do so. However, they may charge a bit extra in the adoption fee to reflect these costs.

For instance, medical costs and vaccinations can cost up to an extra $1,000 for treatment, such as:

  • Dental care
  • Canine Parvovirus treatment
  • Deworming
  • Lyme Disease treatment
  • Xrays

Costs At Home

Finally, you’ll need to consider costs when you bring your dog home.

For example, there are first-time costs such as:

  • Dog license
  • Home supplies (bed, crate, harness, leash, collar, toys, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies (puppy pee pads, carpet cleaning solution for accidents, etc.)
  • Grooming supplies (comb, brush, dog shampoo, etc.)

These expenses will undoubtedly vary depending on how much you need and the brands you buy.

In addition, there are ongoing costs that you’ll need to budget for monthly. For example, you need to keep up with the following:

  • Dog food
  • Grooming appointments
  • Dog walking or sitting services
  • Puppy training sessions
  • Vet appointments
  • Monthly medications

Together, you’re looking at about $1,000 upon bringing your doggo home and getting everything they need.

Rescue Dogs In America

Consider The Dog’s Age

One other thing to consider when adopting a dog is the pup’s age. Most people prefer to have a puppy over an adult or senior dog.

Why? Because puppies are “cuter” than older dogs. Also, most owners want to have their dogs for as long as possible.

However, adult and senior dogs need love, too. It’d be great to give an elder dog a stable roof over its head and lots of love for its final years, even if it’s not as long as expected.

With that said, puppies cost more. This is because they’re more in demand. Senior dogs and adults have a more challenging time getting adopted, so shelters often discount these pups to give them more chances of finding their forever families. 

How Much Will It Cost To Bring Your Pup Home?

You can go to a local animal shelter or rescue organization within your state. Then, you can simply drive the pup back to your house yourself.

However, sometimes, you can look out of state for your dog. For example, you can ask the shelter if they’ll transport the dog to you upon adoption.

Some shelters will do this because they want to see the dog go to a good home. Other places will only work with in-state adoptions.

If they help you transport the dog out of state, they’ll do so for a small fee or do it for free, just to see the dog make it home. 

Should You Rescue Dogs In America?

Absolutely! It’s always best to adopt and not shop. There are too many dogs who require a forever, loving home. Instead, you can go to your local animal shelter and pick out a new furry friend that will fit your family and lifestyle well. Plus, it’ll all be for a fraction of the cost of going through a breeder.

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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