Rehoming Your Pet with Care and Responsibility

Giving up a pet is something no pet owner wants to do, but when necessary, rehoming a pet with care and responsibility is an act of love. Many circumstances may bring about this difficult decision: a change of job, an injury, an illness, or having to move to a place where pets aren’t allowed. Any situation that could mean you cannot provide the care and attention your dog needs will cause you to consider rehoming. 

Finding the Best Solution for Your Dog

There are many things to consider when facing a possible rehoming situation. Will this be temporary? If so, will it be short-term or long-term? Will it be permanent? What are the alternatives? What is the best option for my dog? 

Read on for things to consider when thinking about rehoming. 

Reach out to Local Animal Shelter and Rescue Groups

Research local resources around you. Many humane societies, such as animal shelters, rescue groups, and animal welfare organizations will gladly assist, and may even be able to provide a solution to keeping your pet in your home.

Are you thinking about rehoming due to a financial situation? Many animal shelters offer programs that provide financial support, such as food banks, low-cost veterinary care, and short-term pet fostering. 

Perhaps you’re thinking of giving up your pet due to behavior issues. If so, an animal welfare organization may have training resources to address and hopefully adjust the undesired behavior. 

Sometimes, with adequate support, you can avoid rehoming your pet.

Talk to Your Veterinarian

Talk to your veterinarian if you’ve exhausted the possibilities and believe rehoming is the best solution. Your veterinarian knows your dog and could know other families looking to adopt a pet like yours. You can also put up an adoption flyer in the veterinarian’s office.

Connect with Friends and Family Members

Send a flyer with your dog’s cutest photo and contact information to your family members, closest friends, and most trusted co-workers. Tell them to spread the word. Many people will sympathize with your situation, and perhaps you’ll find a family for your adored pet within your social circle.

However, be selective. Make sure you interview the interested adopter even if they belong to your social network. Your pet must go to the best family or individual that will provide the best care for them.

Read further for tips on addressing the adoption situation.

Create a Pet Biography

Write a tell-all dog biography for your pet. Be as detailed as you can, this will help their future family to know them. While you write this, you’ll also realize what your dog’s needs are. 

Is your dog active? Do they need to have a big or small outdoor area? Do they get along with children, with cats, with other dogs? These are questions that will help you create an informed description of your pooch and better orient potential adopters.

Things to Consider When Going Online

As you continue to spread the word, eventually, you’ll think about reaching a wider audience that is not within your social circle. This is a delicate subject since this could expose your dog to abuse and neglect. Sadly, pet hoarders, backyard breeders, and criminal dog-fighting rings are a real threat to our precious pets. 

This is why it’s important to be cautious about where you promote your dog’s adoption. Craigslist, for example, is not a good option. Though it’s legitimate for selling products, it’s highly unregulated and could potentially threaten you and your dog. 

Reliable Pet Matching Sites

There are reliable websites where you can create a profile for your dog and match it with people searching to adopt. Here are some pet adoption sites that have the support and endorsement of trusted pet industry brands. 

  • Rehome

Rehome is managed by, which is America’s largest nonprofit pet adoption site. Here, you’ll be able to create a pet profile with detailed tips and checklists provided by the site. You can also review the applications of potential adopters and set up an in-person meeting to decide if the potential candidate is the right choice. 

  • Get Your Pet

Get Your Pet is an online service that matches people who want to rehome their pets to people who wish to adopt. They offer guidance on reviewing and vetting potential adopters and useful tips on what questions to ask and where to conduct in-person meetings. They also have a list of veterinarians who will provide a free pet exam. 

Rehoming Preparation

When rehoming your pet you’ll need to make certain preparations. This will ensure the adoption runs smoothly and is permanent. Don’t wait until the last minute and put plenty of thought into it.

  • Write a Profile

Write a detailed profile of your pet describing their best qualities and challenges. First-time pet owners might not adapt well to certain issues and may want to surrender the pet. Stay clear of this situation by being completely honest. 

  • Gather Your Pet’s Medical History

If you can, ask your veterinarian for your pet’s most relevant medical information. Gather this information in a neatly organized folder or digital file. This will be extremely useful for future care and veterinarian visits. 

  • Prepare Your Pet

You want your pet to be in their best condition. If they aren’t already, make sure they’re spayed or neutered and up-to-date on their vaccines. Taking them to the pet grooming salon could add an extra touch to make them clean and neat for their new owners. 

If All Else Fails

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, your pet might not be matched with an adopter. In this case, surrendering your dog to a humane society or animal shelter is a possible option. If you’re searching online, use search terms such as “humane society,” “animal rescue,” and “animal shelter.” 

Make sure to review the organization’s policies carefully and learn their process for rehoming pets. Some organizations apply an owner-surrender fee and have waiting lists. 

Checking-in on Yourself 

Most dog owners have a deep bond with their dogs, and facing this situation can be sad and devastating. How are you feeling? What can you do to make sure you’re ok, and to ensure your dog has a bright future? Keep a positive attitude and remember that many individuals and families are looking for different types of dogs, even older pooches. 

Don’t forget that people who love animals are abundant, just make sure you do everything you can to set you and your dog up for a successful rehoming situation. Prepare thoughtfully, research thoroughly, and interview interested adopters. You’ll find many tips on how to do this online.


Finding a new home for your dog can be heartbreaking, but you can do right by your pet by taking this difficult task on humanely and responsibly. Numerous resources exist for this situation and you’ll find people who are empathetic about rehoming pets. From friends and family members willing to help to animal rescuers passionate about protecting pets’ welfare, many people around you can provide support. Make sure you’re well-informed and always have your dog’s best interests in mind.

  1. Please, Please, PLEASE rehome. In addition to Human Societies and Rescue Groups, there are many breed specific groups that can match pets with people looking for a specific breed. Just don’t abandon your pet…dog, cat or bird. Dumped pets take longer to adjust and they don’t understand why they were abandoned. Many end up as strays with no protection from the elements and disease, and may even die. Ask yourself what you would do if it was a child…EVERYTHING to make sure they found a loving home!

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