Is It Cheaper To Buy Or Adopt A Dog?

 Recently, Bob dropped by my home and found my dog, Timmy, by the porch. During our conversation, he sounded interested in getting a dog.

“Is it cheaper to buy or adopt a dog,” he asked. Since I received Timmy as a birthday gift, we resolved to find out whether to adopt a dog or buy one. Read on to learn what we found out about the issue.

Adopting a Dog From a Shelter

According to statistics, the US has an average of 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters. So, as a new pooch parent, you have many options to select when adopting a dog. 

Moreover, a simple search of an animal shelter near me gives accurate geographical results. An excellent online site to do your search is Petfinder. Here you can filter the results you want to see and check out other available pets.

According to the Animal Humane Society, the average dog adoption cost is $129 to $767. This fee depends on the animal’s age, size, and breed.

Buying A Dog From A Breeder

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 2,000 licensed dog breeders exist. Here is a map from ASPCA showing the distribution of licensed dog breeders nationwide.

American licensed dog breeders mapSource:

However, note that besides these certified breeders, some unlicensed ones exist. Animals bred on unlicensed premises exist under harsh and inhumane conditions since the breeders prioritize profit. So it is best to be vigilant and know whether a dog breeder near you is licensed before dealing with them.

Buying a purebred furry friend can cost upwards of $3,000. While you can get a dog for a low price from an unlicensed breeder, its maintenance cost can be high. Worse, you may deal with ailments that will bring frequent veterinary visits.

Pros and Cons of Adopting and Buying a Dog

Both methods give you a new pet friend but have pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons you can expect to face.

Pros of Adopting a Dog

The primary pro in adopting a dog is that you will give the animal a chance to live a remarkable life. Moreover, most animals in shelters are neglected by owners or abandoned to take care of themselves.

You will also get the pet at an affordable price since animal shelters always look for individuals who can adopt the animals. Adopting a dog also creates space at the shelter for other needy animals.

Dogs in animal shelters are kept up to date with their vaccinations. The shelter staff provides this information during the adoption process. Furthermore, you will also learn the animal’s characteristics as the shelters strive to match pets to their ideal new parents.

Check out this YouTube video from Animal Facts on choosing a shelter dog. 

Cons of Adopting a Dog

Most dogs in animal shelters come from harsh environments where they face rejection and trauma. So it can be challenging for a dog to settle into a new home.

Moreover, predicting how the pet will react to human interaction at home or on the streets can be hard. The last thing you want is an aggressive dog that would harm your children, other pets, and you at the slightest provocation.

Dogs in shelters are used to interacting and sharing treats with others. While adopting one creates a space for another, your new dog may face loneliness. However, the good news is that this loneliness is short-lived since you show the animal the love it deserves.

Check out this YouTube video from We Love Animals on pets’ reactions when they discover they are getting adopted.

Pros of Buying a Dog

The primary advantage of buying a dog from a certified breeder is a purebred pet. While the price is high, this is the best option if you have a specific dog breed in mind.

A licensed breeder also educates you on what you may need to know about your new furry friend. They will also have a clear history of the dog and its medication reports.

Furthermore, dogs bred by certified breeders receive basic training to ensure they adapt quickly to human interaction. And you are guaranteed the animal lived in a conducive environment free of mistreatment.

Cons of Buying a Dog

The primary con of buying a dog from a breeder is the price. Licensed breeders usually deal with purebred animals, attracting a high price tag.

While reputable breeders exist, other unethical ones hide under the regulations to run unlicensed operations. The worst part is that these unlicensed breeders aim to get more profit than they care for the animals.

If you buy a dog from an unlicensed breeder, the animal can have difficulty adapting to the new environment. It may also have medical issues not covered by pet insurance.

Buy Or Adopt a Dog: Which is Better

The decision to buy or adopt a dog depends on your preference. Adopting is the best option if you want to save an animal’s life. Moreover, according to ASPCA, 390,000 dogs are euthanized annually in the United States.

dog in a cage
A dog in a cage

Adopting a shelter-based animal saves two lives in one, minimizing overpopulation. The animals go cheaply, so you also get to save your hard-earned money.

On the other hand, buying a dog is your go-to option if you are looking for a specific dog breed. Licensed breeders can match you with a suitable pet and teach you how to care for your new furry friend.

Also, it would be best to exercise vigilance and avoid unlicensed breeders, as they do not rear their animals in conducive environments. Avoiding them can help minimize these unethical operations.

Final Thoughts on Is It Cheaper to Adopt or Buy a Dog

Getting a dog is one of the best decisions you can make, but securing one can be challenging. This is because many pets are available in animal shelters and select licensed breeders.

While it is cheaper to adopt a dog than buy one, note that the decision depends on you as the pet parent. My friend Bob adopted a golden retriever, and his evening walks are not the same again. You can now decide whether to adopt or buy a dog with the information above.


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