Adopting a pet at a shelter or rescue center not only saves a life, but it saves money. Regardless of the type of pet you are seeking – a purebred dog or cat, mixed breed, senior, puppy, or kitten – you will find it by searching local shelters, as well as online rescue listings. Adoption prices vary between facilities, but with some searching and decision-making before your shelter visit, you can extend that saving even more with a few steps:
Choosing a Spayed/Neutered Pet
Before you head off to the shelter and fall in love with a potential pet, do a little homework. Check the websites of the prospective shelters and rescues in your area. One of the biggest expenses you will have upon adopting a new pet is spaying or neutering, a requirement within a certain time period at most shelters. However, many shelters spay and neuter their pets before they are adopted, a huge money-saver for new pet parents, saving $150-$250, depending on the species, size and gender of your pet and the region in which you live.
Look at the List of Services the Pets Have Received
Along with spay and neuter services, many shelters and rescues have already provided a long list of other veterinary services that will save you money. Find out if your shelter microchips pets; adopting a dog or cat who has already been microchipped will save you about $50. Even simple procedures such as deworming your pet will save you about $30.
If you are adopting a dog, you may also find a pre-trained dog at your local shelter. Along with owner surrenders that may have received some training, some shelters partner with local dog training schools to provide comprehensive training to their most difficult-to-adopt dogs. When the dog “graduates” from his training, he is sporting new skills that would have cost hundreds of dollars in professional assistance and coursework.
Select an Adult Pet
One of the biggest money-savers can be the adoption of an adult pet as opposed to a puppy or kitten. The first year of shots for a pet can cost about $150. While puppies and kittens that you adopt at your local shelter will have received age-appropriate shots, it is likely that you will need to return to your vet — at your own expense — to complete his immunizations.
Adopting an adult dog or cat also means that you may be adopting a pet with some housetraining which can save you money and hassle in terms of cleaning up messes. Dog lovers will also find that an adult dog past the chewing stage will be a big cost-saver, considering the shoes, leashes, furniture, and everything else in the house that puppy would choose to chew.
Watch for Holiday and Special Event Promotions
Just like retail stores, shelters often have sales, frequently tied to special events and pet observances. Look for $14 adoptions for Valentine’s Day, discount cat adoptions for June’s Adopt-a-Cat Month, or savings on black cat adoptions for November 17th’s National Black Cat Day. Shelter dogs take center stage during October’s Adopt-a-Dog Month and senior dogs are often discounted during November’s Adopt-a-Senior-Dog Month.
Check into Discounts
Are you a senior? A member of the military or law enforcement? Many shelters offer special discounts. “Seniors for seniors” programs are popular at many shelters, pairing senior adopters with older pets that are looking for a forever home.
Remember, you can’t put a price on love, but if you’re going to get a loving addition to your family, there’s no harm in saving a few dollars.