Nov 23

How much does it cost to buy a dog or cat in 2018?

From designer breeds to adoption shelters, our vets investigate what it actually costs to bring home a cat or dog these days.


Obviously this depends on what kind of dog or cat breed or cross you’re looking at. It also depends on where you source your new baby from. Designer breeds will be more expensive than a pet you adopt from a shelter, for example.

Should my pet come microchipped?

Of course. It’s a great idea to ask what’s included before you buy. These days, most dogs and cats should come to you already microchipped. Some are desexed and might’ve already had vet checks and genetic testing. Some will be wormed and cared for; others will not. Shelter and rescue pets will come to you desexed, wormed and microchipped. Most importantly, make sure your details are updated to your pets microchip records. A pet with a microchip and incorrect contact details is very difficult to get back home.

Ballpark prices of breeders vs. shelters

  • Direct from a breeder: Golden Retrievers are upwards of $3000, Chihuahuas sit around $2000. Rag Dolls are $500-$1000. Designer breeds (e.g. Cavoodles) are even more: $3500+.
  • ‘Backyard’ breeders: There’s huge variation here. Generally, expect to pay between $500-$2000. Some are ‘free to a good home’ (although rare). If you’re considering this path, we strongly recommend thorough investigation before you buy. Take note of the living conditions and try to visit in person. It’s important to make sure you support only those who truly care for their animals.
  • Adopt from a shelter: This comes inclusive of desexing, vet checks and treatment. Ballpark is $400 for a dog, $200 for a cat. Plus the added bonus of the feeling you get through making a difference by saving a life and providing a wonderful home.

Pooch’s ballpark cost TOTAL: $400 (Shelter, rescue) to upwards of $3,000 (breeder)

Kitty’s ballpark cost TOTAL: $200 (Shelter, rescue) to upwards of $1,000 (breeder)

The Ballpark Cost Series
So how did we arrive at these totals? And what other costs come with caring for a pet?
Read the Vetchat Ballpark Cost Series. It goes into detail on the price of buying a pet upfront, the things you’ll need to pay for in the first year, plus ongoing expenses like pet food, vet visits and grooming.

Want help? Chat with our vets

Our experienced Aussie vets are online between 6am-midnight daily, so let’s get an action plan in place for your fur kid. Get an appointment for a video consult or start a chat within minutes.

Want help? Chat with our Vets.

Our 5 years + experienced Aussie Vets are on stand-by to help your pet via video and text from 6am - Midnight, Sydney Australia time every day.

Dr. Claire Jenkins

Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.