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  • Writer's pictureNicole Kreger

Why do Shelters and Rescues Charge an Adoption Fee?

You are looking to bring a new pet into the family and have discussed the benefits and advantages of adoption over breeders. While adopting is more cost effective than the fees of most breeders, it may come as a surprise that shelters and rescues still charge adoption fees. As a matter of fact, shelters and rescues do a lot to make sure your new family member is in top shape. Adoption fees can range for a variety of reasons, depending on the rescue or the age and health condition of the animal. There will typically be a fee ranging anywhere from $300 to $500+ based on rescue requirements and what the pet may need before becoming eligible for adoption. Below is a list of services that may be provided to the animal and what your adoption fee goes toward.


When a shelter or rescue receives in a new intake, the first that that should happen is a medical exam. If a pet is surrendered by an owner, there may be more information regarding their medical history, but many times the health status of the pet is unknown. At OC Pom Rescue, one of the first stops a new intake will make will be to a vet. The animal is vaccinated and microchipped and is inspected for fleas, dental health, serious medical issues (need for surgery, etc), and whether the pet is spayed or neutered.

- If the pet is not spayed or neutered, this procedure will occur before the dog is adopted out.

- Medications may be needed after procedures or if they come into the rescue with illness or more serious medical conditions.

- They will be given the appropriate vaccines, particularly rabies, and a flea treatment.

- If the animal does not come with a microchip, the rescue or shelter may insert one so that the pet can be located if needed in the future.


- Exam: $50

- Spay/Neuter: $100

- Microchip: $40

- Vaccines: $60-$100

- Medications: $50-$100 per month

Major Procedures

While a less common occurrence, dogs will come through the rescue in extremely poor health and may require a major surgery or procedure. Many times, the rescue will cover the cost of these procedures, if they are able to do so, depending on the severity of the situation. Some major procedures that OC Pom has funded for some intakes include broken bone repair, hernia repair, luxating patellas, and mass removals, to name a few.


- Bone Repair: $2,00

- Hernia Repair: $500

- Luxating Patella Repair: $2,000

- Mass Removal: $500

Oral Hygiene

Many animals come to the shelter or rescue having been neglected both in their health care as well as their oral hygiene. OC Pom Rescue makes sure that each dog goes through the proper dental cleaning prior to being put up for adoption. Smaller dogs in particular can have a history of bad oral hygiene, and it is very important to make sure this is kept up in order to avoid future issues including infection, heart disease, or tracheal inflammation. It will also treat current discomfort (imagine never having brushed your teeth!)


- The cost of a dental cleaning can cost from $300-$1,000 or more depending on if extractions are needed.


Another area of common neglect is grooming. We want to make sure our intakes are clean and feeling good for their future forever homes. This will also help rectify possible skin irritations, fleas, or itching that the dog may have from being neglected or spending ample time in a shelter. A rescue or shelter will often groom the intakes, or bring them to a partner groomer.


- $40-$50 depending on treatment needed

Foster Support

A rescue would be nowhere without the support and care of their fosters. While many fosters donate their own funds to the care of their foster pets, most rescues will do what they can to set up their fosters with the basics. This can include dry and wet dog food, leashes, harnesses, pet beds, food and water bowls, and crates. Many rescues and shelters will rely on donations for these items, but when the donations are not enough to cover all of the pets they may intake at a given time, the rescue may decide to purchase supplies.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into adopting out an animal and making sure they are in the best condition possible before going into their forever home. OC Pom rescue does their best to give their dogs the initial care needed to set them up for success in a loving home. This means making sure they are healthy and clean, which will help the dogs feel more settled before going into their new homes.

The costs of adopting out a pet are typically much higher than what you will pay in adoption fees, so make sure to remember that when you pay an adoption fee for your new best friend! Your adoption fee helps cover the cost of their care, so they can put their best paw forward and into your home.


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