How Much Does it Cost to ADOPT a Dog From a Shelter?

Adopting a dog from a shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into financially.

So, how much does it cost to adopt a dog from a shelter?

Our guide will break down the costs associated with adoption and provide tips on reducing those expenses.

Keep reading everything you need about adopting a dog from a shelter!

The Cost of Adoption

Adopting a dog can be an expensive commitment, but it's worth it!
Adopting a dog will cost anywhere from $50 to $200 upfront. Make sure you budget for dog food, vet bills, and other expenses before adopting to see if it’s right for you.

Can you get a free dog at the shelter?

No, there are adoption fees and other costs that you will be required to pay.

The cost depends on several factors, including the dog’s size, age, and adoption location.

In general, adoption costs range from $50 to $200.

  • Adopting a small dog is typically lower than the cost of adopting a large dog.
  • Likewise, adopting an adult dog generally is lower than the cost of adopting a puppy.
  • The price of adoption tends to be lower in rural areas than in urban areas.

When choosing to adopt a dog from a shelter, consider all of these factors to find the best possible match for you and your new furry friend.

Read More: Fake Rescue Channels. Fake dog rescue videos are out there. Here’s how to tell the truth from the lie.

Benefits of Adopting a Dog

Helping a Dog in Need

For starters, you will be giving a home to a dog in need.

There are millions of dogs in shelters across the country, all of whom need loving homes.

Get Matched With the Perfect Pooch

You will also know the type of dog you are going to be bringing home.

When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you can see firsthand what its personality is like.

This is in contrast to purchasing a dog from a breeder or pet store, where you may not have the same opportunity to interact with the animal before committing.

You’ll Support Your Community

Another benefit is that you will be supporting your local community.

Adopting a dog from your local shelter helps keep the vital work that these organizations do in your community continue.

Read More: What is a Rescue Pet? Learn more about rescue dogs in this guide!

You’ll Save Money

You will be saving money.

A dog from a shelter is often cheaper than purchasing one from a breeder or pet store.

So, the next time you consider adding a furry friend to your family, visit your local shelter – you may find your new best friend waiting for you there!

Read More: How Long Does it Take a Rescue Dog to Adjust? It can take time for your new pet to get used to its new home. Learn more.

How to Choose a Dog That’s Right For You

Make sure you do your research and spend time with the different shelter dogs before taking one home.
Choosing a dog that suits your lifestyle will ensure that you have a pal – and the dog has a home – for life.

Now that you know what the financial cost will be and what the benefits are of adopting a shelter dog, let’s talk about how to choose a dog that is right for you.

Think about your lifestyle and personality.

  1. Do you live in an apartment or a house?
  2. How much time do you have to exercise your dog?
  3. How much time are you willing to spend grooming your dog?
  4. Do you have any allergies?
  5. What size dog do you want?

Once you have answered these 5 questions, you can start looking at specific breeds that fit your lifestyle.

For example, if you live in an apartment and don’t have much time to walk your dog, a small breed like a Chihuahua or Toy Poodle might be a good fit.

If you are looking for a running buddy, a Labrador Retriever or Border Collie might be a good choice.

If you still need help finding the right pup, watch this video:

Read More: Do Animal Shelters Give Free Shots? If you adopt a dog, you may get free initial vet care! Learn more.

Preparing Your Home for Your New Dog

Once you choose the right shelter pup, you’ll need to make sure your home is safe and comfortable for your new dog.

  • Pick up small items that could be swallowed, such as coins and toys.
  • Remove any poisonous plants or chemicals from reach.
  • Get rid of anything sharp or breakable that could hurt your dog if knocked over.
  • If possible, create a designated space for your dog where they can eat, sleep, and relax in peace, i.e. a corner of your bedroom or a spot in the laundry room.
  • Finally, ensure everyone in the household knows how to interact appropriately with dogs so everyone can stay safe and happy. 

Resources For More Information

Several resources are available for those interested in learning more about pet adoption.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website provides a wealth of information on the topic, including guides on how to adopt a pet, what to expect during the adoption process, and how to care for your new pet.

The website also offers a searchable database of adoptable animals and a list of recommended shelters and rescue organizations.

Another great resource is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) website. This site provides detailed articles on various aspects of pet adoption.

Articles like choosing the right pet for your family, preparing your home for a new pet, and understanding the financial commitment involved in pet ownership.

The HSUS website also offers a searchable database of adoptable animals and a list of recommended shelters and rescue organizations.

Finally, Petfinder is an online database that allows you to search for adoptable pets by location, species, and even specific characteristics like age, size, and color.

Read our related article, How Does Dog Adoption Work? for additional insights!


So, what’s the bottom line? How much does it cost to adopt a dog from a shelter?

The answer is that it depends on where you live and the type of dog you’re adopting.

However, generally, you can expect to spend between $50 and $200 when adopting a dog from a shelter.

There are many benefits to adopting a dog from a shelter.

If you are considering adding a furry friend to your family, check out your local animal shelters.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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