Cost of Puppies

The Reasonable Cost of Puppy Love

Most dog owners would agree that their dogs are worth every penny. But how many pennies are we really talking about? Some dogs are mild-mannered, healthy shelter dogs that live with wonderful families. Other dogs are expensive purebreds belonging to single working people. From the purchase of the dog, to dog walking, boarding/travel, possible health problems and training, this could be a much more expensive venture than you think.

  • Prospective owners are screened to ensure that adopted dogs stay adopted rather than being quickly returned to the shelter.
  • Dogs are behavior-tested to determine temperament, so they can be matched to appropriate homes.
  • Dogs receive considerable medical and other services prior to adoption (standard services vary by organization):

preventive shots (rabies, DHLPP, etc.),
a wellness exam and heartworm test,
medical treatment if needed (for parasites, etc.),
spay/neuter surgery,
microchip insertion to help reunite lost dogs and owners,
city/county licenses, and
boarding, food, heartworm medication, vitamins, etc.

That answers the “why” of adoption-related costs, but what about the “how much”? And how do adoption costs at a shelter or rescue group compare to what you pay if you purchase a dog, or adopt from a friend? Here are a couple of samples from the D.C. Metro area:

Prince George’s County Animal Control: $105 for female / $95 for male
Fee includes all services noted above. Fee is subsidized by P.G. County.

Akita Rescue, Mid-Atlantic Coast, Inc.(ARMAC): $200 for male or female.
Fee includes all services noted above. All costs above fee amount are borne by ARMAC, which is funded almost entirely by private donations.

Individual Adoption: If you adopt a dog privately– from an ad, a friend, or even a “free to a good home” box on the side of a country road– you will likely have to pay market price for all of the above veterinarian services. So not including any purchase price of a dog, you could pay $1,500. And that’s for just one “free” dog.

Once you do the math, you can see that adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group is a very reasonable way – in all respects – to obtain unconditional love, loyalty, long walks, companionship, and the best friend you’ll ever have. Please consider taking a dog home for the holidays. It may be the best gift you can give your family, and a lifesaving gift for one special dog.

by Bettie Biehn