Having to rehome a dog is always a difficult process. There are many reasons why you might make this choice, of course, and the guilt that comes with it can be overwhelming. If you’re legitimately looking into rehoming, though, there are some steps that you will need to take in order to make sure that you are making the right choice.
It’s always a good idea to start by looking at the reasons why you might decide that you need to give your pet up to someone else. In many cases, the behavioral issues can be solved and some of the overarching problems related to those issues can likewise be put into a context that makes them seem less daunting. With that said, though, the ultimate choice about what to do with a dog is up to you as an owner.
Steps to Take Before You Give Up Your Dog
In many cases, giving up a dog is a result of feeling a need to do so rather than actually wanting to give up the pet. There are some steps that you should take to determine whether giving up your dog is a necessity. Doing so will not only give you the chance to keep your dog, but it may help you to feel like you did everything in your power to keep your pet before you decided to give him or her up.
See a Vet
One of the most important things you can do before rehoming your pet is to see a vet. Many people who feel like they have to get rid of their dogs do so because of behavioral issues. What you may not know, though, is that many behavioral problems actually have their roots in medical conditions. If you can find a way to solve one of these conditions, you may be left with a dog who no longer has such problematic behaviors.
Look Into Training To Help Keep Your Dog
Not every behavioral problem has a physical root. With that said, though, there are many behavioral issues that can be handled if you are able to get your dog properly trained. In some cases, all you’ll need to do is to consult a training manual and put those tips into play in real life. In others, though, you may want to look into more dedicated training. You can check with your vet, local animal groups, and even shelters to find out if there is a low-cost training program in your area that will allow you to give your dog a second chance.
Consider Looking into Aid
Many people, unfortunately, find themselves having to give up their pets because of financial issues. In truth, there’s very little you can do if you are forced to move somewhere that doesn’t allow pets or if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you’re no longer able to afford care for your dog. Though it’s entirely possible you may be able to find a pet-friendly rental or you might be able to find ways to give your dog the exercise it needs despite a lack of space, this is one area in which your options will be limited.
Truthfully, your best choice here will be to look into assistance to help you keep your pet. There are actually many organizations – some of which are even government-funded – that can help you to cover the cost of pet food, vet care, and other necessary dog expenditures. If your state doesn’t have one of these programs, there’s a good chance that you might be able to reach out to a local pet rescue or even a shelter to see if they have programs that can help you keep your dog. In many cases, a shelter would rather help you to feed your pet than deal with all of the heartache that comes from surrender.
Talk to Rescue Groups
If all else fails, you might want to talk to someone from a local rescue to see what you can do about your pet. Some of these rescues might have resources available for you that range from helping to direct you to more pet-friendly housing options to help you to find a place to temporarily foster your dog while you get back on your feet. Remember, these organizations exist to help animals, and helping you will help them in their mission. While not every rescue can help with every situation, reaching out is a good final step to take before you decide that you have to part with your dog.
How to Rehome Your Dog If You Can’t Keep Your Pet
If you’ve gone through all the effort of trying to keep your dog and you’ve come up short, it does make sense that you’ll have to rehome your pet. Doing so might break your heart, but it is often the best solution for both your family and your dog. You do, however, owe it to your dog to make sure that he or she gets adopted by the best possible home.
One of the best ways to make sure that you can get your pet to the right place is to try to adopt him or her out to another home yourself. Though there are both rescues and shelters out there that can help, most have limited resources. The best move for your dog, then, is to do the legwork on your own.
How to Find a New Home for Your Dog
The first step in finding a new home for your dog is to make sure that your pet is ready for adoption. That means getting him or she checked out by a vet, getting all of his or her shots, and ensuring that your pet is spayed or neutered. All of these steps will end up reducing the costs that the new family will have to bear and make it much easier to adopt out your dog quickly.
Once your dog is ready, you should start to reach out to people that you know. The absolute best people to adopt your dog are the people who you think are already fit to take care of your pet. Talk to friends who already love your dog, family members who already have a connection or the neighbors who might watch your dog when you are away. Giving these individuals the first chance to adopt your dog is not only a good way to make sure that your dog gets a great home, but a good way to make sure that you’ll still be able to see your pet if possible.
From here, you’ll start to reach out a little further. Talk to your vet to see if he or she knows of a good home for your dog, then think about trying some more standard adoption tactics. See if you can place adoption flyers up at the places where you already spend time – at work, at the gym, even at a local restaurant. These flyers should not only have your contact information, but they should have a great picture of your dog as well as a very flattering description of your dog’s personality and why you are looking for a new adoptive family.
If you can’t do the legwork in person, it’s a good idea to use social media. Post about your dog and make sure that you share the information as widely as you can. Get your friends to post up information as well and make sure that you’re available to talk to potential adopters as soon as you can. The power of your internet can be your friend here, so make sure that you use it to the fullest extent possible.
Once you have an interested adopter, it’s time to start being honest about your dog. You need to let this person know every aspect of your dog’s personality – how he or she gets along with people and other pets, what things your dog likes to do, and what makes him or her unhappy. You should also absolutely be transparent about any of your dog’s big issues, including whether he or she has serious medical problems and if there are any behavior issues that have led you to try to find a new home for him or her. Your goal here is to find a forever home for your dog, so you want the person who adopts your dog to have as much information as possible.
If all of your attempts to do this work on your own fail you do still have the option of reaching out to an organization to help you. Many rescue groups will be happy to help get the word about your dog out there and can leverage all of their social media streams and marketing might to help someone find your dog. Though some might charge you for the work, there are others who will at least list your dog on their sites as a courtesy. These organizations generally understand that giving up a dog is tough and that keeping a dog while he or she is waiting for adoption will help the rescue to avoid straining its already-strained resources even further.
If all else fails, you may need to think about surrendering your dog to either a rescue or a shelter. This is actually a harder process than you might think – there are few organizations that are going to take a dog with no questions asked and even fewer that are going to feel comfortable doing so with a healthy dog. You should take the time to look up the shelter or rescue’s policies on surrenders ahead of time so that you have all the information that you need.
What to Do Next
Try to remember that you’re not a bad person for giving up your dog. In a best-case scenario, rehoming a pet is a choice that allows both the owner and the pet to live their best lives. Though you might feel guilty, remember that you’ve taken all the steps that you could to keep your dog and that you’ve done all the work that you can to ensure that your dog can go to a great new home.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What to do if you have a dog you can’t keep?
The best way to deal with this problem is to figure out why you can’t keep your dog. Is it a medical issue or a behavioral issue? If so, that could be dealt with by a vet or a trainer. If it’s a problem that can’t be solved, though, you do need to think about ways that you can safely rehome your dog. This usually means taking steps to make sure that your dog can be adopted and keeping him or her safe while you wait. If all else fails, you can contact a rescue or a shelter to discuss a surrender.
2. Can I drop my dog off at a shelter?
This largely depends on the shelter. Some shelters will let you drop off a dog with no questions asked. Other shelters will only take drop-offs under very specific circumstances. It’s always a good idea to either check out the website of the shelter where you want to drop off your dog or to call someone who works there so that you can get an idea of what kind of requirements are in place and what you’ll need to do if you show up to drop off your dog.
3. How do I give up my dog?
Giving up your dog is a little more complex than you might think. If you got your dog from a breeder, you should check your contract to see if you need to give him or her back. Otherwise, you’re free to try to adopt the dog out to someone else. You can find a friend or family member who wants the dog or you can even advertise online to find a good home for your pet. If all else fails, you can turn to rescue or even a shelter to take in your dog.
4. How much is it to surrender a dog to the pound?
This largely depends on the pound in question. Some pounds will take dogs for free, while others might charge a nominal fee. Pounds that have relatively little room might charge more, while pounds that are connected to rescues might take in some dogs as an act of charity. Regardless, it’s good to call the pound before you decide to surrender your dog.