Have you been considering adding a new pup to your family? Your head might be filled with images of you romping through fields of grass with your new friend, throwing tennis balls long, warm cuddle sessions.

What you might not be considering is how much does it cost to adopt a dog. When you take adoption fees, food, medical bills and toys into consideration, you might be surprised by just how much it costs.

Continue reading to find out how much it costs to adopt a dog and to see how to price breaks down.

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Dog?

If you’re asking, “how much does it cost to adopt a dog?” the answer might be misleading. Many people are happy to tell you that they have adopted a dog for free. Others may have paid a small fee or a few hundred of dollars.

After all, isn’t a few hundred dollars worth years of love and companionship? Pretty much any dog owner would answer yes. But what dog owners might not be telling you is all the other costs that stack up after the adoption itself.

When considering how much it costs to adopt a dog, here are some places you’ll be spending money:

  • The adoption
  • The vet
  • Food and treats
  • Toys and pet supplies

Once you start adding up how much a dog costs, it not a trivial amount. Being prepared, however, will be the best was to plan or how much it will cost. Look at our price break down below.

Adoption Fees

The adoption fee for a dog is usually the largest or second largest expense. This cost has a lot of variance too depending on the circumstances of how you adopt your dog. If you want a purebred dog, the fee is going to be greater. The breeder will likely see their pup as ‘one of the best around” and will be willing to charge accordingly.

Going with a purebred breeder can cost thousands of dollars. You are also “on your own.” They’re usually willing to sell you the dog but then stick you with all associated costs of caring for the dog.

If you go through a private rescue organization, they’ll still usually charge a bit more especially if you are getting a puppy. You can probably expect to pay up to one thousand dollars for a private rescue pup.

If you choose to go through the city shelter or a nonprofit, you can usually get a dog for a few hundred dollars. Some organizations even give dogs a way for free, so that can be a great way to cut the cost of adoption.

Vet Costs

Usually the next largest cost associated with pet adoption is the vet bills. If you got your dog from a breeder, they usually are not going to cover much of your dog’s medical expenses. This leaves you with the bill for routine medical expenses like a physical exam, vaccinations, tests, spay or neuter surgery, and any medications.

If you pay for all these expenses, they can easily add up to a thousand dollars or more. If you choose to adopt through a responsible adoption organization, they may take care of the majority of your initial veterinary costs for you. Most adoption or rescue organizations will do their own tests to ensure their dogs are in good health. If you adopt a dog from a reputable center, you’ll likely have some of the medical costs offset by their own testing.

No matter where you get your dog from, you’ll still want to take them to your vet soon after their arrival home.

Home Supplies

With the two (usually) largest expenses out of the way, we can move on to some cheaper or even optional expenses.

When you adopt a new dog, you’ll want to make sure you have some supplies ready to go from day one. These supplies will vary based on where you are, where you shop, and what quality you are willing to spend on.

You will want to have a leash and a collar as soon as you get your dog. You’ll also want to get a crate if you plan to crate train. Blankets or a dog bed will be a good choice as well. Food and water bowls will also be necessary.

Altogether, your supplies will range anywhere from about $50 to $400 depending what you get.

Food / Treats

Food is another area where you can make choices depending on the quality you want. You can go the very cheap route; this will likely cost you around ten or twenty dollars a month. An expensive bag of food can be $50 or $60. Depending on how much your dog eats, this means you can be spending between $10 and $50 dollars a month just on food.

Throw in some treats and you’ve got a good-sized grocery bill. You can pick up some of those dental chews for your pup. Or some rawhides or even natural bone or antler chews. All in all, you may be looking at a bill of up to $100 a month on just what your dog consumes.

Toys / Entertainment

You’ll also want to pick up things to keep your dog entertained. This is especially good for when you must leave your dog alone for a short time. This cost also will depend on what you get and how much you get.

A single toy can cost only a few dollars. Name brand toys can cost much more. In all, you’re probably safe budgeting anywhere from $20 to $50 on just toys for your dog.

Extra Fees

Now that you’ve got all the “stuff” you need for your dog, what about intangible things? Are you going to be taking your dog to training classes? Will you be hiring a dog walker for when you’re at work all day? You should think about all the places you might be spending money where your lifestyle demands it.

These extras can be cheap little bills for a daily walker, that that $7 dog walk times 5 days a week really adds up. This is another expense you must consider, but it will vary since it depends on your lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

Once you tally everything you will be spending money on, even a “free” dog winds up costing a lot of money. If you are planning on adopting a dog, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand within your first few months together. This isn’t meant to discourage dog adoptions, but it’s important to be realistic about your budget.