The Hidden Costs of Pet Adoption

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Animal lovers everywhere: June is Adopt-a-Cat Month! That means that shelters all over the country will probably be hosting cat and dog adoption drives, as well as offering reduced adoption fees. Although you might be prepared for the cost of the adoption process itself, you might not be aware of the hidden costs that can come with adopting a new pet. What other costs should you be mentally and financially prepared for?

The cost of abuse treatment.

Ask April’s April Masini warns about having to deal with the medical and financial aftermath of abuse. “Many animals with histories of abuse behave with anxiety, and freak out when you leave them alone, or when someone who looks like a former abuser approaches them. Sympathetic vets and pet foster organizations may start prescribing expensive anti-depressants and other medications or behavioral therapies for your pet.” Make sure you’re prepared to deal with these costs if they arise.

Surprise medical procedures.

Although you might expect to get a animal who has already been spayed or neutered and vaccinated, dog trainer Amy Robinson warns that each shelter and rescue has their own policies. “Some young puppies and kittens are allowed to be adopted without being neutered. Adopters should make sure to get a voucher for a low-cost or free neutering. Also, ask about vaccinations. When were they given, and what exactly were they? Were the vaccinations given by a licensed vet? If someone else gave the vaccinations, they should be able to provide proof, including the brand name and other details about the vaccinations.” If any vaccinations aren’t take care of, you may have to foot the bill.

Kimberly Gauthier of Keep the Tail Wagging adds that dewclaw removal may also dip into your finances. “It’s $35 – $50 per dewclaw.”

Special food and supplements.

Gauthier continues, “Sometimes dogs may not respond well to a food and you end up buying a lot until you find the right one; or if you choose to feed raw (we feed raw) there is a learning curve as well as the cost of the food supplements. If you choose to go with kibble, it’s a good idea to supplement that food with natural supplements to offset processed food.”

Pet insurance.

“Many people believe that they won’t need this,” Gauthier explains, “but an accident can happen in seconds and cost thousands; it’s a lot more affordable to pay a monthly premium and deductible.”


“Plan on spending up to $500 in the first year of the adoption for dog training,” Robinson warns. “Many dogs need an adjustment period to blend into their new situation, so be patient and look for lower-cost training options, like a humane society program, or look online for help. YouTube is full of free dog training videos. Many behavioral problems may need personal training at your home, but the cost is well worth it if the adopter does the homework and helps the dog work through the issue.”

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