Average Cost of Care per Animal: How Does it Figure?

Previous Costs of Care per Animal
$950 (2024-present)

$705 (2019-2023)

$513 (2015-2018)

In running a non-profit organization, great care, and attention is paid to our expenses to maximize the dollars entrusted to us to help the most animals and people possible without compromising quality of care.

One of the most important benchmarks to identify is the average cost of care per animal.  This allows us to gauge our capabilities of caring for animals and providing our programs, it’s also important that the public and our supporters are aware of how we use their funds to keep our programs operating.

To calculate the cost of care, all of Dakin’s adoption center expenses during its past fiscal year were reviewed. Among the expenses included were utilities, salary and payroll expenses, maintenance, medical supplies, lab work or outside veterinary services, kennel supplies, food, kitty litter, and pet toys for shelter animals. These expenses are essential to operating our adoption center and caring for the animals that rely on it.

That figure was divided by the number of cats and dogs in Dakin’s care during that same period. Just a decade ago, the average cost of care per animal was calculated at $503.  Now, at $950, it’s nearly double that cost. The increase is understandable considering about 80% of animals that arrive at Dakin these days have medical or behavioral needs that require extra resources, including medications, and often require a long stay in our care. Inflation, especially rising supply costs, has also affected this calculation.

“It's important to be transparent about how we determine our adoption fees, and for our adopters to understand our high standards of care at Dakin,” stated Dakin’s Executive Director Meg Talbert. “The generosity of our donors has a direct, positive impact in enabling us to help as many animals as we do, even as our costs have risen due to inflation."