Should We Discount Price On Dog Adoptions?

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Do you think our shelters should discount dog adoptions?  The question arose (in my head) when I was reading an article about Animal Shelter has dogs for half-price adoption. My initial reaction is “that’s great…hopefully we can get more dogs and cats adopted by discounting the adoption fee.”  However, on second thought I’m not so sure it is a great idea.

Discount Dog Adoptions

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After further review of Discounting Dog Adoptions I’ve come to the conclusion that there are good and bad things that may result from discounting.  Lets start out with the good:

The Good of Discounting

  • Discounting may be that final incentive someone needs to adopt a dog.
  • A discount gives a person more money to spend on dog toys, veterinarian bills, etc.
  • Marketing your discount program brings in more prospective adopters.

The Bad of Discounting

  • If there is a discount the shelter receives less money.
  • Okay, lets be honest…if you can’t afford the full adoption fee ($75 from the article) then should you really be adopting a pet. – my point being that the adoption fee should be the least of your monetary concerns when adopting a dog.

Shelter adoption fees are probably one of the smallest expenses you’ll spend on your new dog.

Here is an example of some of the fees you encounter during dog adoption: I brought Linus home from the shelter for somewhere in that price range of $35-40 adoption fee.  We then proceeded to spend approximately $200 on supplies including dog food,kennel, dog toys, treats, grooming supplies, etc.  When we got him home we noticed he was sluggish, infested with fleas (he had encrusted blood in his ears), stomach virus, worms, and was very anemic.  We took him to a self grooming shop, purchased a flea comb, medicated shampoo, and proceeded to clean him up – that was another 50 bucks.

The next day we took Linus to the veterinarian for a checkup.  He got his regular vaccinations, medication for his stomach virus and worms and we got another bill for about $200.  Finally, the shelter offered to neuter Linus at no charge…no thanks…Instead of bringing him back to the shelter we used our veterinarian.  When all was said and done another $250.  All of these fees piled up to nearly $1,000 in the first few weeks after adopting Linus.

On a positive note, Linus did receive his initial vaccinations from the shelter and they did offer to neuter him free of charge.  My fear of bringing him back for neutering was that he’d end up with fleas, worms, and another stomach virus.

Dog Adoption

A question I often get asked is what would I do today if I were to adopt a dog?  After all my experience with dog adoptions, rescues, shelters, fostering, guide dogs, puppy raising my first choice would be to establish a relationship with one of the our wonderful local dog rescues like Cuddly Canines and over time be patient and select a dog that would fit my personality and energy level.  I believe most rescues charge somewhere in the neighborhood of a $200-300 donation.  However, that usually includes spay/neuter which most rescues will do before you take home your dog, up to date vaccinations, de-flea and de-worm.  Also, dogs and puppies usually stay with a foster for at least 14 days for health and temperament evaluations.

Of course every dog rescue is different and I’d check with your favorite rescue volunteers to see exactly what their rescue has to offer before adopting.

How about you?  What kind of experience do you have with dog adoption?  Do you think discounting is a good way to “sell” adoption?

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4 Comments

  1. @Ally, thanks for your response. $150-350 is a pretty steep price for adoption. I agree…I’d rather save money on adoption and put that money towards other items for my dog.

    One other expense that I failed to mention that is very important is dog training. We spend between $65 and $275 on 4-6 week group training classes with our dogs. For us training is an ongoing process and we will continue to attend classes throughout t he lifetime of our dogs. We’re looking to get Stetson into a scenting class and therapy training. Linus is interested in agility.

    A good idea would be to include basic training classes in the adoption fee price. A well-behaved dog is more likely to become a part of the family and avoid ending up back in the shelter.

  2. The local shelter charges anywhere from $150-350 for dogs and $50-90 for cats. The animals do come microchipped, spayed/neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, de-wormed and with a free vet visit and you can license your dog with the county at the shelter when you adopt it. However, half-price adoptions do wonders here and I’d be more willing to adopt a dog from the shelter if they charged less (I worked there and prices for dogs were half what they are now, with all the same perks but you couldn’t license the dogs there) There are so many things for the dogs that I would rather spend my money on than their adoption price. I got my girl dog from a private owner rather than a shelter and only paid $100 for her and got half that back when I spayed her. I know shelters need to make money to function but they need to consider their adoption prices and how they compare to purebred/breeder prices. Around here it’s cheaper at times to buy a purebred than to adopt (without all the perks of course but those are underestimated by most people). Great post!

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