The Cost of Adopting a Dog

boogiethepugBlog, How to save for a trip6 Comments

The Cost of Adopting a Dog

You’re ready to add to your family and you’ve chosen to adopt. That’s great! Congratulations! We made that same decision in 2011 after returning to NYC after almost two years spent in Brazil. We lived in a pet-friendly building, and had a Brazilian street cat named Kitty. We felt financially secure and stable enough in our schedule to add a dog to the mix. It took us an entire year to find the perfect dog, and along came Boogie! We adopted him from Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue in 2012 when he was just a year old. He was abandoned in South Carolina and looking for a new family. We were in love.

Cartoons and commercials love to show people walking into an animal shelter and walking out with a huge smile on their face and a new four-legged friend with wagging tail. But that’s not the end of the story – it’s just the beginning. Hopefully those two are headed to the pet store with credit card in hand, because that’s what’s necessary once you bring home a new pet.

Here’s how much we spent – and what we spent it on –  in the first month we had Boogie. We break down the cost of adopting a dog, show you what we picked up, and how much our new addition really turned out to be after just one month at home.

The Cost of Adopting a Dog

This photo was taken on the day we brought Boogie home!

The Perks of Adopting

There are definitely perks to adopting, besides the obvious (saving a life!). Badass Brooklyn has a strong dog community in our area, with plenty of resources and knowledge, including a Facebook group for adoptive families where you can ask questions and share information. This was priceless, because although we were experienced dog owners, it’s still great to have a network of people who can share and advise. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other dog owners in your neighborhood.

Boogie also came fully vetted. He was up to date on vaccines, neutered, had a microchip, as well as a leash, harness, and collar. That alone saved us a few hundred bucks.

The Cost of Adopting a Dog: What We Paid

All in all, we spent the following during Boogie’s first month with us:

Adoption Fee $400 Included vaccines, neutering, microchip, leash, harness, and collar.
Grooming $45 Included nail trim, ear cleaning, shampoo & blow dry, and anal gland expression.
Bed $39.99 We got this plush and machine washable dog bed.
Food $36.09 We transitioned Boogie to Wellness Core grain-free dry dog food, before totally switching to homemade dog food a few months later.
Treats $6.49 We liked Max & Ruffy’s organic and vegan treats!
Toys $20.96 We got Boogie a Kong toy, size medium, and some stuffing-less animal toys.
Shampoo $13.49 We bought Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo.
Brush $14.97 We bought this basic dog brush.
Food Bowls $16.99 Always get stainless steel or ceramic. We purchased these, before switching to a tall stand.
Stain and Odor Remover $10.99 This Nature’s Miracle Dog Stain and Odor Remover is a lifesaver.
Heartworm Medication $29.37 A must! Check dog size before ordering.
Dog Tag w/ Identification Info $10.89 Ours included his name, our email address, and phone number.
Poop Bags $16.99 We like this biodegradable brand.
Pet Insurance $34 We initially got Boogie VPI Pet Insurance, but have since switched companies. Our initial plan cost $34/month with a $100 deductible.

For a whopping total of: $696.22

What We Didn’t Pay For

Keep in mind that these initial costs were specific to our needs. Other things that weren’t necessary for us but might be for others, include:

  • a dog crate
  • dog walker
  • doggy daycare
  • wee wee pads
  • apartment deposit
  • dog training
  • belly bands
  • medication

There were also certain things, such as seasonal items, that we paid for later. This includes booties, a dog coat, flea & tick prevention, travel accessories, and his first vet exam.

Size Matters

Boogie is a small-ish dog, weighing 21 lbs (although he was a bit heavier when we adopted him!). The basic items we purchased for him were meant for small to medium dogs. If you are adopting a larger dog, expect to pay more for initial costs (things like a bigger bed, more food, and larger food bowls all cost more). Not to worry though – some things, like adoption fee and tools like a brush or dog tag, will most likely remain the same regardless of dog size.

Ways to Save

A new dog is exciting, and that first trip to the pet store will make you want to fill your basket up with new toys to the brim. We definitely indulged a bit as well. Boogie spent hours driving up to Brooklyn from South Carolina in a van full of dogs. He smelled less than great, so we paid for a professional grooming during his first week with us. We could have saved the money and bathed him ourselves, but we treated him to the spa day because it also included a nail trim, ear cleaning, anal gland expression, and blow dry.

Figure out for yourself what’s worth spending money on, and where you’re ok cutting corners. You can get lots of quality pet items at cheaper retail outlets like TJ Maxx or HomeGoods. Always check the sale aisle wherever you go, even at the pet store. Boogie goes through beds quickly, so we look for secondhand ones in good shape at thrift stores. And of course, ask your friends with dogs if they have any items they no longer need or use. I’ve given away more dog toys, travel bowls, and basic accessories than I can count, helping my friends save money and a trip to the store.

How much did getting a dog cost you? Share in the comments!

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Commercials love to show people walking into a shelter and walking out with a smile and a new four legged friend. But that’s not the end of the story, it’s just the beginning.
About Boogie

Hi! This is our dog Boogie, the traveling pug. He's been on over 20 flights to three continents. We're here to show you how to travel with your dog. Join us as we take planes, trains, and automobiles to different parts of the world.



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6 Comments on “The Cost of Adopting a Dog”

  1. Very nice and thorough post. Thankfully most people who are dedicated to the dog or other pet they choose to adopt and love are also aware of and committed to doing what it takes to offer them the best in care as you do for Boogie. This is a great summary of everything to consider before making the big decision.

  2. We adopted our dog Puggle mix, Theo, for $40. Originally we thought the adoption price was going to be $95, so I’m not sure how we got such a good deal. We bought him a crate and a few days later had his nails trimmed for $12. Since we already had two dogs, we didn’t need to purchase anything else at the get-go. The shelter even gave us a leash and collar for him, and his rabies tag was up to date. We have several tags with our information, so we just put one on his collar. He was a bargain all the way around 🙂 Of course, since then, I’ve bought him several collars and leashes, (but those are really for my benefit), toys, treats, a couple of beds.

    1. That’s awesome! $40 is great. We also spent a lot less when we adopted Marcelo, our 2nd dog. I think the major expenses come if you don’t already have a dog in the house. Congrats on your new addition!

  3. $19,000 and counting. Two surgeries for torn ACLs, emergency care, annual vet checkups, heartworm and flea meds, supplement for joints, crate, memory foam dog bed, decent brand of food, rubber balls, etc. Oh, and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in ten years. Still love the booger, though.

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