Rehoming a Dog
Learning how to rehome a dog isn’t something anyone wants to do.
Sometimes, giving up a pet you’re unable to care for is the kindest thing you can do.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, making the difficult decision to seek out rehoming centres for your pets could be your only choice. However, it’s important to make sure you approach this step carefully, so your pets can go on to have happy lives with a new family.
Today, we’re going to guide you through the complex steps of approaching animal shelters and seeking out opportunities for your dog when it’s time to go your separate ways.
Common Reasons for Rehoming a Dog
Every year, around 130,000 dogs around the UK are entrusted to rehoming centres. There are many reasons why a person may need to separate from their dog. For
instance, one of the most common reasons is that your canine companion has some behavioural issues that you’re not equipped to handle. Behaviour issues can be particularly problematic if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to training your dog outside of work and everyday commitments.
Other common reasons learning how to rehome a dog include:
- The dog is aggressive to other family members, friends, or animals
- The dog has separation anxiety, and the family can’t be there for it as much as needed
- The specific breed of dog (such as Labrador retriever or German Shepherds) requires too much exercise and play for the owner (perhaps someone with mobility issues)
- The dog has health issues the owner can’t afford to take care of
- The family is moving and has serious financial issues
- Life circumstances (like the birth of a new baby) mean the dog is unaffordable
If these, or any other reasons have forced you to consider finding a new home for your dog, then the following steps will help you to move forward correctly.
Step 1: Focus on What’s Best for the Dog
The first step in rehoming your dog, before you can approach a rehoming team or shelter, is coming to terms with the act itself. It can be really painful to leave your dog behind, even if you know that behaviour issues, destruction issues, and health issues make it impossible for you to keep them around. As tempting as it might be to beat yourself up, try to stay focused.
If rehoming your pet is the best thing you can do for him or her, then you need to put your guilt away, and focus on doing what’s right. Look for a reputable, no-kill rescue centre that can take your pup. Ideally, you’ll need one with the right specialists to help your dog, like an animal behaviourist.
Step 2: Look At Your Options
There are a few options to consider when you’re looking into how to rehome a dog.
- Dog’s Trust: Dog’s Trust are available to give support, advice, and guidance on all kinds of dog rehoming, for a lifetime. The post-adoption support team is also on-hand to help when someone fills the adoption contract out for your dog too.
- Dog’s Shelters: There are dogs’ shelters which might be able to take on your dog and look after them for a while, either until you can pick them up again, or until they find someone else to adopt them. Make sure you choose a no-kill shelter if you take this route. Perhaps look for one which can give your dog to a foster family.
- Local RSPCA: The local branch of the RSPCA can help with various aspects of rehoming for you. They’ll be able to assist you with getting your pet checked over for health issues before you give them up. You can even get help on finding the right charity or rescue centre for a specific kind of dog. Some breeds require a particular kind of care.
- Rehoming with friends: If you want to keep your dog close to home, you could consider giving them to a friend, neighbour, work colleague, friend, or someone else you know. These people can act as the dog’s foster family or take over completely. They may ask you to help with some of the rehoming fees, though.
Step 3: Call your chosen option
Once you’ve picked a possible route, contact the rehoming group, or individual you want to give your pet to. Again, remember that this isn’t the time to get stuck in guilt. The right rehoming facility will respect that you’re making tough decisions.
Groups like the RSPCA aren’t there to shout at pet owners when they need to give up a dog with signs of aggression, or because they can’t look after them properly. Staff members will listen to you and give you advice on how to make a responsible decision that ensures your dog can live a healthy life.
Sometimes, you might get advice that could stop you from having to give up your pet.
Step 4: Arrange a Meeting
Calling the rehoming facility or person is a good start, but if you think you’ve found a viable option for your dog, you’re going to need to visit in-person too. Even in times with social distancing and restrictions, you’ll be able to interact with the team (Safely) and discuss the needs of your dog.
Having a full chat with the company while you fill out your rehoming application form will help to put your mind at ease. You can learn how the company deals with puppies and adult dogs, and give them advice on the kind of foster homes your dog would do well in.
During the meeting, you’ll also be able to let the company know if your dog needs to see any behaviour professionals before moving into a new home. Bring your dog’s veterinary history and vaccination card to the meeting, along with any bedding or toys you want them to have.
Step 5: Arrange the Handover
Crucially, not every rehoming centre or facility will be able to take your dog. While these companies strive to take as many pets on as possible, they still may not be able to look after your pet in some cases. For instance, if the kennels are full, and your rescue organisation has no space, they might have to reject your request for services.
However, even if they can’t take your dog, most “no-kill” shelters and rescues will be able to give you advice on other animal rescue companies you can reach out to. They may also be able to offer advice on specific-breed animal welfare organisations, and animal centres who can direct you towards foster families and groups.
If your dog is aggressive, your best bet might be to take them to an animal behaviour consultant to see if you can change the dog’s behaviour. Animal experts can make huge changes to a dog’s personality with the right training.
Step 6: Say Your Farewells
If you successfully find an animal rescue group who can take your animal for rehoming purposes, then the next step is likely to be the toughest – saying goodbye. The good news is that if you’ve done your research, you know your dog is going to the right place.
You’ve taken the time to tell your animal protection group all about your dog’s health concerns, veterinary treatment requirements, and preferences, so they’re well equipped to look after them. In many cases, you can also ask the animal welfare professional you work with to keep you updated on the dog’s progress.
Even if you’re struggling to give your dog up now, it can help to get photos, letters and insights into how they’re doing with their new family. Adoption services might even arrange visitation with the new family if dog’s owner doesn’t mind. This can help you to deal with the pain of having to let go of an important member of the family.
Say your goodbyes, give the dog a hug, and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can right now.
How to Rehome a Dog: FAQ
Q: Rehoming a dog: When is it time?
Generally, the best time to rehome a dog is when you know someone else can give them the quality of life they need, when you can’t. If you simply can’t provide your canine family member with the attention, love, and support they need, it’s best to take them to someone who can.
Q: What happens to my pet once they’re in care?
This can depend on a lot of different things. There are adoption organisations with their own adoption booklet information and guidance online that can tell you what to expect when rehoming. You may need to pay an adoption rehoming fee in some cases.
Q: Should I feel guilty for rehoming my dog?
Not if it was the right step for your pet. If you’re worried your dog would have a bad life with you, then you can give them a fresh start with an adoptive family.
Q: Should I visit my dog after rehoming?
This is a difficult question to answer. It will depend on the adoptive family of the dog. It might be tough for the dog to settle if it keeps seeing you after the handover is complete.
Q: Is trouble affording your pet’s care a good reason to rehome?
In some cases, you might have to give your dog away because you can’t give them the healthcare they need. Make sure that you check to find out whether there are any options you can take to make care more affordable.
Adopting from a dog shelter
So, what happens if a dog has been placed in a shelter? How does a new owner adopt that dog?
If you’re someone looking for a dog to adopt, then there are tons of places to start looking. Most adoption centres will help you to find a dog who matches your energy level and personality.
Step 1: Search for Shelter Homes and Dog Rescues
There are plenty of great places that look after dogs in need of a home. You can find these online, by simply searching for “rehome dog”, or “dog adoption”. Altenratively, if you have a specific breed in mind, like German Shepherds or Labrador retrievers, you can look for these breeds in particular.
If you’re happy to adopt any breed of dog, you’ll usually find that you can track down the right pet a lot quicker. From there, you can fill out an adoption or rehoming application form, or simply register your interest with the rehoming centre, so they know to contact you when a dog that matches you comes up.
Registering your interest is a good idea if you’re looking for a dog without a history of aggression, or one that doesn’t need complex training. It only takes a few minutes to fill out a form that should reduce the risk of an energy mismatch.
Step 2: Meet the Team and the Pets
Once the rehoming team finds a pet that’s suitable for your needs, they can contact you and bring you in to discuss a few things about what you can do for the dog. Your adoption centre will want to make sure you’re a right fit for the dog too!
After a chat, they’ll bring you into the rehoming centre to meet potential pets. This could involve using video footage to view the dog or meeting them in person.
If you fall in love with the pet there and then, you can discuss the rehoming fee for the dog (prices vary depending on the animal breed and any other requirements. You may also need to pay for other fees like:
- A collar
- A starter pack of food
- Pet insurance
Step 3: Welcome Your New Dog Home
Finally, you can welcome your new dog into your home and enjoy years of happiness together.
Remember, rehoming a dog can be an upsetting experience, but it’s also a chance to give your dog a happy and wonderful life with someone new.
Whether you’re looking to rehome a dog, or adopt a new one, we hope this guide has helped. Remember to check out our other blogs for more insights into the wonderful world of pets.