What To Do If You Have To Rehome Your Dog

What To Do If You Have To Rehome Your Dog

Most dog owners plan to keep their pets forever but sadly, sometimes they’re faced with the heartbreak of having to rehome their beloved dog.

The reasons for rehoming an animal are many. Sadly, the decision is usually very difficult and made during a crisis or life-changing event, making it even more traumatic. However, even when a dog is rehomed simply because they’re no longer wanted, rehoming is far kinder than neglecting a dog’s needs or abandoning a pet on the street or at an overcrowded shelter.

Rehoming a pet can be the best choice for the dog. And, even though it can seem harsh, it can be the least selfish choice and in the dog’s best interest. Finding the right home can ensure the dog is loved and cared for when the current caretaker is unable or unwilling.



Rehoming an animal means that the pet is given to another family (going from one home to another) because its current owner is no longer able to care them for whatever reason. Some common reasons dogs are rehomed are:

• Relocation
• Loss of job
• Divorce
• Illness
• Death
• Inheriting a dog
• Lifestyle change resulting in no time for the dog
• Change in family status
• Behavior problems of dog



When rehoming a dog, it’s very important to let people know the truth about the animal or why the dog must be rehomed. Some important things to share with any prospective new home include:

• Is the dog housebroken?
• Has the dog had training or know basic commands?
• Does the dog like car rides and going places?
• How active is the dog?
• Is the dog socialized?
• Does the dog like children?
• Does the dog prefer males or females, or it doesn’t matter?
• Does the dog get along with other dogs?
• Does the dog like cats?
• What type of personality does the dog have (shy, active, timid, bold, etc.)?
• Is the dog an escape artist?
• Has the dog been neglected or abused?
• Is the dog in good health?
• How old is the dog?


By letting people know as much as possible about the dog, it will help the dog find the perfect match for its personality. It will also help prevent common rehoming problems such as a very active dog moving in with someone who lives a lazy lifestyle, giving a cat-hating dog to someone with cats, or placing an escape artist with someone who doesn’t have a high enough fence.

What NOT To Do When Rehoming Your Dog

There are many ways to go about rehoming a dog but the pet’s safety and future security are the most important. Never just give your pet away for free or post on social media, Craigslist, or any other place where you just post an ad on the Internet because it puts the dog at risk of abuse. Always tell people you are charging a rehoming fee.


How To Rehome Your Dog

1. Ask friends and family for help

If you’re looking for a home for your pet, always reach out to your friends and family. Ask them if they can help. Many times, people will step to the plate and be an unexpected source of support when they understand what the need is.

When talking to friends and family, don’t forget to ask your coworkers, breeder, groomer, local pet store contacts, church, places where you volunteer, boarding facilities, the local shelter, and those you’re tightly connected to within the pet community. If you use social media, use discretion, and keep it to your group of close friends and dog-related connections.

2. Talk to your vet

Your vet may also be a good resource and know someone looking for a pet and will have the benefit of being able to vouch for a client. Veterinarian offices will often allow people to post flyers in their waiting areas, too.

3. Contact Local Rescues

Some local rescues will help you find a home or courtesy post a pet on their adoption page. They usually provide pertinent information about the dog but it will most likely be you screening calls and interviewing prospective adaptors. Of course, you can always surrender your dog to a rescue, but that is not rehoming so we’re not covering that in this article.

4. Use A Rehoming Service

Many professionals will recommend using a rehoming service such as Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet.com. Services such as Rehome help screen out potential adaptors and make the process safer for pets and owners. They are also more familiar with signs of abusers and scammers.


Rehome, for example, is a free service and helps owners rehome their dogs by allowing them to create a pet profile that is seen by thousands of people looking for a dog. They help owners screen applications and look for red flags from potential adopters, help pet parents meet and interview prospects, and even provide a contract to transfer pet ownership to the new family.

Get Your Pet is another rehoming service that is an online pet adoption community where people who want to adopt a pet connect with people who need to rehome a dog or cat. There is a fee to use Get Your Pet but there are also additional benefits such as a free exam by a participating vet and 30 days of pet insurance and more.

Tips to Avoid Rehoming

Rehoming a pet should be a last resort. If there is a way to keep your pet but you just need some extra support, ask for it. There may be people who can help, such as:

• Your shelter may be able to connect you with a non-profit or pro bono organization that can help if you’re struggling to afford pet care, such as vet bills, food, or pet deposit at a new home, or that can help with training.

• Check out RedRover for help with emergency vet bills.

• Hire a trainer or behaviorist to work out problems, if you can afford one.

• Ask local food banks for help.

• Search for low-cost vet services in your community.

• Apply for care credit to charge vet bills with low-interest rates.



If you are ever faced with this agonizing decision, we hope these tips help you find the perfect home for your dog. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.

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