Adopt vs. Buy: What’s the Difference?
Congratulations! You’ve decided to get a dog! Now what? Time to decide where to get your new best friend! There are lots of places to consider, but we are here to help you make your decision.
So what’s the big difference between buying and adopting? For starters, cost. Purebred puppies from breeders and pet stores typically cost several hundred dollars, and can cost upwards of $1,000 for certain breeds. What you might find surprising is the sheer number or purebred dogs you can find at your local shelter or rescue league. nearly 25% of all dogs currently in shelters are purebreds. That’s why we recommend taking a quick trip over to your local shelter to see if they have a dog from the breed you are searching for (or better yet, find your local shelter in our Shelter Directory and check their website for your new best friend!). If you can’t find one at your local shelter, check for rescue leagues nearby. The American Kennel Club provides a listing of rescue leagues it trusts to house purebred dogs for hundreds of specific breeds. If you are open to adoption, this might be the perfect spot for you to find your purebred for a fraction of the cost.
Besides the great cost savings up front from adopting, there are cost benefits down the line as well. The average cost of owning a puppy for one year is $600-$900. If you buy from a breeder or pet store, you are incurring this cost in addition to the hundreds (or thousands!) you’ve already spent buying your puppy. Next you have to pay a couple hundred dollars to have your new pup spayed or neutered. If you had adopted from a shelter, your puppy would have almost certainly been fixed for free. Additionally, lots of shelters are now micro-chipping dogs before they are sent on to their forever homes. That means if your new pup gets lost and finds his way to the shelter or pound, there’s no need to worry as the microchip can be scanned to find his owner.
Want more savings? Consider the disease factor. Because pet stores often get their dogs from breeders, or worse yet - puppy mills, they are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions, as well as diseases. Some of these include epilepsy, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, heartworm and chronic diarrhea. While this are never avoidable entirely, these conditions and disease are typically tested for in shelter dogs. Most shelters won’t adopt out animals they know to have serious conditions and at the very least will provide information to potential owners (don’t believe us? Check out our testimonials page to hear about our experience adopting a new dog with heartworm!). Not only can these issues cost lots of money, worse yet, they may not be caught soon enough to save your new pal. There isn’t a worse feeling in the world than losing a new puppy only a few months after you bought him (for hundreds of dollars) at the local pet shop.
But costs (and potential diseases) aside, there are still TONS of reasons to consider adoption! Worried about all the painstaking training you’ll need to do with your puppy to make sure he doesn’t go potty inside or chew up your remote control? Adopt an older dog! While we are big advocates of adopting a senior dog, most dogs you find in a shelter that aren’t puppies will be house-broken (to varying degrees, so be sure to ask the workers!). In addition to knowing your new dog is potty trained, you will also have a very good idea of their personality. When you buy a puppy, you can get a feel for personality and get more information by learning about the parents (if possible), but you never know for sure. As puppies grow older, their personalities will change and they won’t always be just like mom and dad. You can avoid any surprises by adopting an adult! Not only will you know more about their personality, but most shelters do full personality tests to see if the dog gets along with other dogs, cats and young children so you know even more about your dog!
So a quick recap:
The one thing on the list that stands out most to us is the extra love of a shelter dog. There’s no doubting the bond you create with your dog, and raising a dog from the puppy years can certainly be rewarding. But there isn’t anything quite as rewarding as the look in your shelter dog’s eyes when you come home from work or are cuddling up on the couch. Shelter dogs have a reputation for being extremely thankful for their forever home and we can attest to the bond you will have with yours if that’s what you decide is right for you!
If you are still on the fence, here are a few more things to consider about animal shelters. You can also check out our top 10 reasons to adopt! If you’re going through the decision process or recently have, please share your thoughts! We understand that adoption isn’t for everyone so please let us know why you chose to buy (or adop!).