I recently adopted an adorable rescue dog named Stanley. It's not like I thought adopting a dog was going to be free or anything — my cat eats better than I do, so I know the price of organic pet food. But I wasn't quite prepared for how much money I spent on Stanley in the first month. He may not be a puppy, but he still needed a lot of things to get him settled into his new home.
If you're thinking about adopting a pet — or have just always been curious about how much it might cost — below I share how much I've spent on my sweet Stanley in the first month. Some charges were absolutely necessary...others not so much. (But Stanley is worth every cent!)
Adoption fee from the LA-SPCA — $100
Could I have technically waited until the next weekend for the free October Pet adoption month event? Sure. But what if someone had taken Stanley home before me?! Paying for the typical adoption fee was a great investment considering what a wonderful addition Stanley has been to my life.
First trip for supplies — $130.22
I enlisted a fellow dog-owning friend to come with me on the first trip to the pet store for supplies. I was still a bit in a bliss-like trance, so I gave my friend the freedom to put things in the basket for me. I think he went a bit overboard and I was too blissed out to notice.
First time taking him to the vet — $243.40
Though when I adopted Stanley he had a clean bill of health, they still recommended that I take him to my vet, too. I have an incredible vet and told them to give my guy a complete check-up, plus a bath! I think I got the six-month heart worm protection, too, so I wouldn't forget to give that to him in the future.
Another trip to the pet store — $115.51
Like me and my cat, it turns out Stanley has allergies, so I picked up some things to help with itchy skin. And of course he's such a good boy I wanted to grab more snacks. I may gone a little overboard.
Costume accessories — $20.11
Adopting a dog in the month of October means finding yourself in the delightful position of having a new pet to possibly dress up, and the dilemma of not wanting to scar the new guy in his first month home. I didn't purchase a full costume, but I did order a small Halloween-themed handkerchief, a rainbow tutu, and a new stuffed toy, which has become Stanley's favorite thing in the world. We call it "Lammy."
Waste bags — $11.87
How can something so small produce so much waste? I needed poop bags, and wanted the ones that were rainbow colored.
Groomer — $54
Stanley was a bit on the shaggy side when I took him home, and while I thought he was the cutest thing ever, several people told me he would feel better with a haircut. So I took him to a local groomer and he did feel better! I have no idea how much you're supposed to tip a dog groomer so I played it safe and overtipped.
New harness — $38.85
Stanley and I didn't have the smoothest time on some of our first walks. It was more like a long series of taking a few steps and Stanley stopping and staring at me. Someone suggested I get a body harness instead of clipping the leash to his collar, and he loves walks now!
Another vet trip — $125.80
Stanley was sneezing a lot and had a really runny nose, so I took him to the vet again to make sure he wasn't sick! He got some antibiotics and is 100% better!
More food — $39.43
I'm clearly more used to the amount of food a small cat eats than a dog! I already needed to go pick up more food. This time I stocked up.
Total amount = $879.19. Yikes! So much more than I intended and more than I would have guessed. Something to think about if you're considering adopting a pet. But I also think that I spent a lot more than I needed to due to poor planning:
Things I did NOT spend money on:
I'm not sure I needed everything above. And I definitely didn't need the things below, which I didn't buy. Perhaps decide for yourself what is absolutely necessary before you head to the pet store?
Specific dog bowls — I've never bought pet-specific bowls; regular dishes will work just fine, thank you.
A dog bed — Who needs a dog bed when you have a ton of floor pillows already?! I created a little fuzzy, soft nook for Stanley under the bench in my living room, and he loves snoozing in his sheepskin cave. I mean, when he's not sleeping in the bed or on the sofa with me!
A fancy Halloween costume — I made the decision to not scar Stanley for life by dressing him up in an elaborate costume the first month of us living together (though a simple rainbow tutu did make an appearance on one Halloween evening walk). Being in New Orleans, I'll hopefully be DIYing any costumes he needs in the future. But for now, I saved at least $20 (or more) this year by not going for the realistic looking dinosaur costume.
How I think I could have spent way less:
Honestly, all of these were last minute trips without any real planning. I think taking the time to actually compare prices or look for sales could have saved me a lot of money.