Rehoming a dog is one of the best things you can do. For the dog, it means finding a new home that will love them, care for them, and treat them with respect.
For you, it means finding a good home for a dog that you may not be able to continue to care for, but that doesn't mean that finding good homes for them is always easy. Here are some tips for finding good homes for dogs and making the process go as smoothly as possible.
The Right Way To Rehome Your Dogs
When you bring your dog home, you plan to keep him forever.
life situations can change dramatically and without warning. Sometimes – sadly – this leads to a situation where you are unable to keep your pet anymore and need to consider rehoming your dog.
Today we’re going to explore when it may be time to rehome a dog, and what your options are if you decide you can no longer keep your dog.
Give Your Dog The Best Chance To Have Happy Home
It can be a heart-wrenching decision to give up your pet. If you find that you have no other option, give your dog the best chance at a new life—and give yourself peace of mind—by making sure he goes to an excellent home.
If you can find a reputable, no-kill, private rescue that will take him, that can be a good choice. The problem is that many such rescues are at capacity, so finding one with an open spot can be a challenge.
Another option is to rehome your dog yourself. Depending on the type and age of your pet, this can be super fast or can take some time, but it is an option that ensures your dog will be safe and happy.
Resources are available to help you in the process of finding the perfect home. Rehome was designed to help pet owners in your position and they provide lots of tools including the ability to create a custom pet profile, tips on screening adopters, and much more.
You'll also find resources to help you keep your pet if you're still not 100% sure about rehoming him.
If you must rehome your pet, do it in a way that will allow him to have the happy, healthy life he deserves. Knowing you did what was best for him will be well worth the time and effort.
Fastest Way To Rehome A Dog?
The fastest way to rehome a dog is to surrender him to a shelter—but that's not necessarily the best way. While shelters do their best to help the animals in their care, some cannot find homes for every pet.
That means some dogs become long-term residents of the shelter or in the worst cases, are put down rather than rehomed. Along with asking what is the fastest way to rehome your pet, a good question to ask is what's the best way for you to do it.
Rehoming Your Pet Responsibly And Humanely
Rehoming your pet is heartbreaking. It is often due to circumstances like the loss of a job or home, an illness or injury, or PCSing to a location where personal animals are not allowed.
Here are some tips on how to find your dog the best possible home:
Take a good color photo of Fluffy or Fido. If you already have a good photo, make it readily available for use. If not, take one which shows your pet’s best side, as soon as possible.
Shelter intake pictures may show a fearful, depressed or highly stressed animal in a less-than-ideal setting. If you are surrendering your pet to a shelter they may use images that you supply.
Prepare a brief description/biography. List any training your dog or cat has had: house-, crate-, and/or obedience training. How does she get along with other animals, children, strangers?
Describe her medical history and current medical conditions, including any medication she may be taking. What are her favorite and least favorite foods, treats, and activities?
What makes your pet special?
Be honest. Full disclosure will help you find a new home that is a good fit for your beloved dog or cat, and ease his transition to a new home. Disclosing up front that your four-legged family member needs more training, for example, may spare him from being dismissed from his next home for being unruly.
Prepare your pet. Make sure your dog or cat is groomed, up-to-date on her vaccinations, and is flea- and tick-free. If you have not done so already, have your pet spayed or neutered.
Low-cost vaccination and spay/neuter clinics may be available in your area. Check with local shelters and pet stores.
Searching For A New Home Of Your Dogs
If you decide that rehoming your pet is the best option, keep in mind that despite the best efforts of shelters and rescues to care for their animals, your home is usually the best place for your pet while you search for an adopter.
By taking on the task of finding your pet a home, you can also reduce competition for limited space and resources in shelters or rescues. Here are some tips for placing your pet in a loving new home.
*Make your pet more attractive to potential adopters. Have your pet vaccinated and checked by a veterinarian. Making sure your pet is spayed or neutered may also make them more likely to be chosen by a new owner.
*Advertise through friends, neighbors and local veterinarians. Your personal network is the best pool of adopters for your pet. Ask your veterinarian if you can place a poster advertising your pet’s need for a new home. Place flyers promoting your pet at work, school, church and other public places you frequent. Include a good-quality photo and appealing description of your pet.
*Leverage your social network. Post your pet’s photo and story and ask your friends to share it on their social streams.
*Be transparent with potential adopters. Be prepared to share details about your pet's personality and how they get along with other pets and people. Share your pet’s favorite things and not-so-favorite things. And share any medical or behavior issues your pet is experiencing so that potential new owners will have the information they need to determine if your pet would be a good fit for their family.
*Get help from shelters and rescue groups. Some sheltering and rescue organizations may post your pet’s picture and profile on their website as a courtesy listing, while your pet stays in your home. Your local agencies may have other programs to help you rehome your pet.
*As a last resort, you may be able to surrender your pet to a local shelter or rescue organization. Each agency may have a different process for surrendering a pet to their care; learn more by visiting their website or by calling ahead.
Valid Reasons For Rehoming A Dog
1. Two (or more) dogs in the family are seriously fighting.
Although it’s not uncommon for two dogs in a family to have occasional squabbles, there are also times when knock-down-drag-out battles – or even rough play – can put one or more canine family members at risk of serious injury or even death (not to mention the risk of injury to the humans who have to intervene in the dog fights).
This can be especially life-threatening when a size differential almost guarantees that a smaller dog will be injured – or killed – by a larger dog who plays too roughly or has mayhem in mind. Plus there is the risk of predatory drift, where the larger dog sees a significantly smaller playmate dash across the yard and his brain kicks into “Squirrel!” mode. He perceives his smaller canine companion as “prey” instead of “playmate,” and tragedy strikes.
Whether due to size difference or not, conflict and potential injury between canine family members calls for careful management protocols, implementation of a behavior modification program to reduce or remove tension when possible, and if necessary, rehoming of one dog to prevent tragedy.
If modification isn’t successful and management isn’t realistic, it is only fair to give both dogs a chance at long and happy lives by rehoming one. (I usually recommend rehoming the easier of the two dogs rather than the more problematic one, because it’s much more difficult to rehome a dog with problematic behavior; you are probably that dog’s best option.)
2. The dog is a danger to someone in the household, or to the community.
This often entails aggressive behavior, but not always. Sometimes an aging dog-lover makes the mistake of replacing her beloved senior dog who recently passed away with a puppy of the same breed, forgetting that she was 15 years younger the last time she had a bouncing adolescent canine underfoot.
If the human’s dexterity and balance is beginning to fail her, and/or if she is physically unable to meet the dog’s activity needs, rehoming may be the best option.
While daycare, pet walkers, and sympathetic family members and friends may be able to help with some of the exercise, the dog might still present too great a threat to the owner’s safety. If that’s the case, rehoming is the right choice.
A rowdy dog may also present some physical risk to small children in the home. Good management can often minimize the danger while the child grows and the dog matures and learns his good manners behaviors. Aggression, however, is another matter.
Aggression alone is not necessarily a reason to give up your dog. It is irresponsible parenting and dog-caretaking, however, to keep a dog who shows a willingness to bite kids in a home with children.
Dogs who live in homes with small children must adore them, or the child’s safety is at significant risk. Anything less than “adore” means the dog should be rehomed, or at least sent off to stay with relatives until the child is old enough to no longer be at risk, and/or the dog has learned to love children. It’s a lot easier to rehome a dog before he bites a child.
A dog with aggressive behaviors presents a risk to the community if the human is unwilling or unable to take necessary management steps to keep the community (and the dog) safe.
While this can be due to a lack of concern on the human’s part, it can also be a result of denial and/or lack of education.
When aggressive behaviors have been identified in a dog, it is critically important that the caretakers prevent the dog from having any opportunity to bite, and seek assistance from a qualified positive behavior professional for help in managing and modifying the behavior.
3. An unavoidable change in life circumstances precludes keeping the dog.
Stuff happens. You may have the strongest commitment in the world to your dog, and if life circumstances change and you can truly no longer care for him, then rehoming is the responsible decision. I’m not talking about simple priority choices (“We can’t afford the dog’s ACL surgery because we want to go to Europe this summer”); I’m talking about unavoidable life events such as heart attacks, strokes, foreclosure, moving to a long-term care facility, and other life-shattering occurrences. Sometimes, tragically, you really can’t care for your beloved canine any longer.
4. The dog has a health or behavior problem that is beyond the means of the owner to resolve.
Quality of life is an important consideration for dog and humans. If you really can’t afford the care your dog needs, you either provide it anyway, perhaps at the cost of your own health or diet, or you don’t provide it and your dog suffers.
You can choose to make sacrifices in order to provide for your beloved dog, but there may come a legitimate time when the sacrifice is too great, or the challenge too difficult. Some medical procedures now available for dogs cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Just because we can try to fix something and prolong life, doesn’t always mean we should. A loving caretaker may be completely willing to work with her difficult dog’s behaviors, but physically unable to do so. In those cases, rehoming a dog or even euthanasia may well be the best choice.
Aggression, severe separation anxiety, and a variety of canine obsessive-compulsive disorders can be extremely difficult behavior challenges.
While these sometimes respond to treatment, often with the help of behavior modification drugs, they don’t always, and quality of life can be greatly damaged for both dog and human.
5. Wrong dog for the situation.
Sometimes, humans acquire a dog for a specific purpose – to be a service dog, do narcotics detection, or to fulfill some other working or competition goals.
Sometimes the chosen dog turns out to be totally unsuited for the desired purpose, and the human doesn’t have the luxury of keeping the newly acquired dog while seeking another one who is more suited for the training goal.
In such cases, it may be absolutely necessary, or at least fully justifiable, to return or rehome a dog in order to allow the person to seek and select a more appropriate candidate.
Finding the right home for your dog can be a difficult task. There are a number of things you can do that will make the process much easier. Start by making your dog as adoptable as possible. Get your dog spayed or neutered, and keep it up to date on its shots. A lot of people are looking for a dog that isn't aggressive, and many will steer clear of a dog that has not been fixed. If you are looking to rehome a dog, you should also try to get it to lose some weight. A fat dog can be intimidating to potential owners.