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Free Dog? Not Quite!

All over the nation, adoption centers hold "free" adoptions events either annually or a couple times a year. The great benefit here is that people flood out and give so many dogs and cats homes since the adoption fee is dropped. However, these events can also cause new owners to forget the true cost of an animal - even if there's no cost up front! Here's some info on just how much a new pup costs in the first year. 

One-Time Expenses

In the first year, you'll encounter these one-time expenses. They won't last, but are important to consider up-front.

Spaying/Neutering - $200

If you're adopting your dog from a free shelter dog event, they'll likely already be fixed. But if you adopt a puppy or adopt a dog from elsewhere for free, they might not be fixed. For a dog, the average cost to spay or neuter them is about $200. However, it's a necessary cost that will keep them happy and healthy!

Collar/Leash/Harness - $20 - $50

To get the collar, leash, and harness that's right for your pup, you might have to spend $50 or more. If they're little, keep in mind that this might actually be more than a one-time cost because you might have a to get a new harness once they grow to their full size.

Vet Visit - $70

When you adopt your dog, you'll need to take them for an initial vet visit. This is standard, even right after adoption, to ensure that your new furry best friend is healthy. This initial visit can range in cost depending on which vet you visit.

Crate - $25 - $100

If you are crate training your new dog, you'll need to invest in a good quality crate. The price of the crate depends, of course, on the size of your dog. 

Training - $110

Even if you're adopting an older dog, they might still need some training. And if you need a puppy, they'll definitely need training! These costs can range, but this is about the typical cost of one training course. 

Annual Expenses 

Here's an estimated breakdown of the money you'll have to spend yearly on different repeating costs.

Food - $120 - $400

Obviously, this is a necessary cost! The cost of your pup's food can vary greatly, depending on its quality, brand, and any special diet requirements. But this is a rough estimate.

Vet Exams - $235

Tests, shots, and just a general health checkup costs around this much per year, depending on who your vet is. And of course, if your dog has any problems, this cost might rise.

Dog License - $15 - $25

You'll need to get your dog officially licensed with whatever county you're in, which is typically an annual payment.


Health Insurance - $225

While you don't need to get your dog health insurance, it's not a bad idea for dogs that are prone to medical problems. 

Toys/Treats - $30 - $60

While you don't have to get your dog toys or yummy treats, you know that they'll love it when you do, and it'll make them much happier.


We won't do the math for you, but as you can see, it costs quite a lot to adopt a dog, even if there's no up-front fee! While dogs are totally worth it with all the love that they give, you want to make sure that you're ready to take good care of them before you commit.

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Jenna Gomes

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Jenna Gomes