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How Much Does It Cost to Surrender a Dog? (Updated In 2024)

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

dog in shelter

If you walk into an animal welfare organization today and ask them what their biggest challenge is, we’re almost sure that they’ll say it’s the fact that their facilities are overwhelmed by the number of animals that are in need of assistance. Because millions of companion animals are often left in their hands every day, due to a variety of reasons.

A significant number of dogs in shelters are either surrenders, rescues, or strays. You can expect to pay between $50 and $150. If for some reason you need to surrender your dog, read on below to find out how much it will cost.


What Does It Mean to Surrender a Dog?

You’ll be relinquishing ownership to a rescue or shelter. That means that you’ll no longer be part of the dog’s life, and they won’t be part of yours. The facility’s number one priority will be to find someone willing to adopt the dog.

These organizations love the animals and want the best for them, but finding adequate space to properly care for them and finding a new owner is often challenging.

a sad dog hugging a man
Image Credit: Zen Chung, Pexels

How Much Does Surrendering a Dog Cost?

Contrary to popular belief, surrendering a dog is not usually free—or simple. The costs typically vary, but you’ll likely pay something between $50 and $150. Of course, some of the factors that influence the cost are:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Status of the facility
  • Health
  • Behavior of the dog

Let’s take age, for example. It would be a lot easier for the rescue or shelter staff members to deal with a puppy compared to an adult or senior dog. Also, if someone shows up with the sole intention to adopt, the probability of them asking for a puppy is always high.

Health is also a critical factor because caring for a less-than-healthy dog can be expensive.

The type of facility being a factor that influences the cost of surrendering a dog is self-explanatory, as crowded facilities tend to charge more. You might also be asked to pay more if you walk into a premium facility. The location also factors in when you start looking at different facilities around the country. It’s known that some states have a higher cost of living index than others, so you’ll pay more in these areas.

Lastly, we have the dog’s general behavior. Are you trying to surrender a well-trained pooch, or are you giving it away because you can’t handle its disruptive behavior? Since the facility will be having its hands full, they’ll ask you for more so that they can invest more resources in training the animal.

What Are the Common Reasons Why Pet Parents Surrender Their Dogs?

There’s no denying that dogs are the best pets in the world. They are intelligent enough to be trained to obey various commands, and that’s a major perk. Sadly though, they also happen to be a huge commitment. And this is something that most people don’t realize until they own one.


Dog ownership is a costly endeavor. And we’re not just talking about the food that they consume daily or the essential medical bills.

While calculating the monthly costs, you also have to factor in training classes, the cost of repairing damaged pieces of furniture, emergency treatments, toys, and the miscellaneous expenses incurred over time. Hiring a professional dog walker is a perfect example of such an expense.

budgeting money
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels


There’s a reason why our dogs and not cats are considered man’s best friend. You can leave your cat in the house for hours, and they won’t develop separation anxiety. But if you try the same with a dog, an animal that’s often bred to thrive in a social setting, you’ll be shocked once you get back. Some breeds are so susceptible to separation anxiety that they can’t be left alone for more than a few hours.


Ever since the 2008 recession, families have been forced to downsize or move to cities that offer affordable options. This has also forced them to surrender their furry friends to shelters, even if it means downgrading to a life that they aren’t used to.


We’re not referring to unwanted behaviors that can easily be rooted out through a training regimen. Not knowing how to walk when leashed, constant barks, house soiling, and even excessive jumping can be resolved with effective training methods.

Unwarranted aggression towards other pets and strangers is usually the problem here. Some breeds have a very strong prey drive that they cannot be trained to subdue. Inevitably, they’ll chase any small animal in the vicinity, or bite anyone who’s not part of their pack family.

shetland sheepdog sitting on grass field and barking with mouth open
Image Credit: atiger, Shutterstock

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Would we encourage anyone to surrender their dog? Probably not. Nonetheless, if surrendering is the only viable option worth exploring, you’ll be required to pay a fee that’s somewhere between $50 to $150. The cost usually varies, though, as it’s reliant on several factors, such as the location, pet health, age, general behavior, and type of facility.

Featured Image Credit to marcinm111, Shutterstock

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