To this day adopting Eloise was the best decision I ever made, I have wonderful little companion who continues to teach me new things every day. And now that I’m considering adopting another dog, I wanted to share my tips for adding a dog to your home.
The first and most crucial step in deciding to get a dog is to look at your budget. Dogs are way more expensive than you would think. Between adoption fees, vet exams & vaccinations, you can easily spend well over $1,000 in the first month. Here’s the breakdown:
Adoption fee - $100-$400 depending on shelter and age
Pet deposit (if you rent) - $150-$350. My building is $350.
Supplies - $200
Vet Exam - $100 for well visit
Vaccinations - $100-$350 depending on age and how many shots they need
Dog walker - $100 for 5 walks ($20/walk with Wag!, other walking services may be cheaper)
Obedience Class - $180-$280 - a lot of shelters require you take you new dog to an obedience class
As you can see the costs really add up quickly. I’ve been thinking about getting a sibling for Eloise for a while now, and started to budget it all out for myself. My upfront cost for adding a dog to the pack will be around $1,200 and then an additional $200/month moving forward (currently I spend around $300/month on Eloise).
Here’s my own budget for a Puppy specifically. Costs will be lower if you get an older dog.
Now after you’ve decided you can afford a dog, you’ll need to get supplies. I love Amazon, Pet Supplies Plus, Krisers Natural Pet, and Marshalls. Shop the essentials at the end of the post!
Once you’ve at least made a list of all the supplies you need before you bring your new fury bff home, then you get to do the fun part! Find the perfect dog! Chicagoans are super lucky because not only is the city super dog friendly, but it’s also full of crazy dog-obsessed people (ahem, like me) who love to rescue dogs. I adopted Eloise from Chicago Canine Rescue, but there’s also Second City K9, PAWS Chicago, K9 for Keeps, One Tail at a Time, Alive Rescue, Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago Animal Care and Control (this is a kill shelter and also has the most affordable adoption fee) and many many more shelters in the city.
Do your research on types of dogs before you fully commit, because different breeds need different levels of engagement. Huskies and shepherds are by far some of the best dogs but require a ton of work and consistent training and they shed…..like a lot. Labs and retrievers are typically easy. Beagles and hounds are great and low maintenance but may be loud barkers. Pit bulls and other bully breeds are some of the sweetest dogs with the worst reputation, many apartment builds won’t let you have a bully breed so make sure you verify before you adopt.
After you’ve adopted your pup join your local dog group, like the Real Dog Mom’s of Chicago, so you can make friends with other pet parents who will be valuable resources for you as you navigate training, and schedule changes and just generally the enormous responsibility of keeping this precious baby alive.
So, yes, adopting a dog is expensive and time consuming and stressful at times, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling. You’ll be adopting a ball of excited fur running to greet you everyday when you get off work. A workout buddy who will force you to stay active even when you want to stay inside and hibernate. A snuggle buddy and toe warmer. Entertainment when tv is trash and you don’t want to go out. And a companion that will be more loyal to you than you could ever hope to be for them. You’ll learn a lot about yourself as you learn how to share your time and energy with this new creature. And at the end of the day you’ll wonder how you ever lived without your dog.