The rewards of adopting a rescue or shelter pet over buying one from a breeder are numerous: knowing you rescued an animal from being euthanized, there are generally fewer medical problems with mutts than purebreds, some are already potty trained…and there are some financial perks as well:
Purebred puppies can cost between $300 and $1,000 (more, if it’s a “designer dog” breed). Kittens and birds and other pets also cost more when you buy them from a breeder or a pet store, but if you choose to adopt a pet from a rescue or shelter, the adoption fee is minimal. Even if you have your heart set on a purebred or a young pet, there are often purebreds available for adoption (usually because the previous owners’ living circumstances changed and they could no longer properly care for the animal). Be sure to check out your local rescue before going the breeder route.
Food and Supplies
Adopting an animal that’s already full-grown means you get to skip the developmental stages during which you would need to keep buying bigger crates, cages, beds, collars, etc. Better yet, some animal rescues and foster families are willing to give you the animal’s old bed, collar, and toys because familiarity helps with the transition between owners. And, unless you adopt a very young or senior pet that requires a special diet, you can probably make do with regular food.
For further savings on pet supplies, you can find coupons or scout around pet stores in your area (some offer discounts for rescued animals!).
One of the biggest advantages to adopting a pet is that your veterinary expenses will likely be lower. Vaccines and spay/neuter procedures are required by most rescues and shelters and oftentimes included in the animal’s adoption fee. Some older animals were already spayed or neutered by the time they arrived at the shelter and for this reason, they’re sometimes offered for a lower adoption fee than say, a puppy or kitten.
Over the long run, mixed breeds are also less prone to genetic health problems purebreds are known for, such as dysplasia, which can cost several hundreds of dollars to treat.
Shelter and rescue pets aren’t exactly “blank slates” like their younger, breeder-raised counterparts, but that doesn’t mean training has to be difficult. Many are already potty trained to go on the grass or in a litter box, saving you from having to pay for a trainer or potty training class (or lots of carpet cleaning chemicals, for that matter). Some dogs even know basic commands like “sit” and “down.” Although you’ve probably heard some horror stories about people trying to train their adopted pets, these cases are few and far in between.
In fact, most people who have adopted a pet would say that the benefits far outweigh any negatives.