Rehoming a Pet

If you have decided to re-home your dog, instead of turning your pet into a shelter (where he or she may be killed due to space or behavioral issues) there are actions you can take to increase your pet’s chances of success with a new family.

Remember, you are your dog’s best chance at finding a good, loving home. You owe it to your pet to be creative, positive, and persistent.

There are many dogs in need of homes, so it is vital to maintain a positive attitude and focus on the best for your dog, because there are good homes out there.

1. Explore all options you can think of for finding a new home for your pet. Creativity and persistence are vital and usually rewarded.

2. Prepare your pet for adoption. It is important for your dog/s to be:

    • Up-to-date on vaccinations
    • In good health
    • Clean and groomed
    • House-trained and reasonably well-behaved
    • Spayed or neutered

Note, if your pet hasn’t been spayed/neutered, we do not recommend placing the animal in a new home. This can result in unwanted litters and undesirable mating behaviors such as mounting. You want your pets to be successful and comfortable in their new home, so help them do so by getting them spayed/neutered. Puppies can be spayed/neutered as young as eight weeks.

Please talk to your veterinarian or local shelter for more information on spay/neuter and needed vaccinations or do a Google Search to see what is available in your area.  For spay/neuter, visit the SpayUSA website at

3. Photos and description. Photos and descriptions help people to make a connection with a dog.

    • Take several good-quality photos of your pet.
    • Make sure your pet is well-groomed and is looking at the camera.
    • Compose an ad that describes the pet’s personality, habits, and the things that make your dog special. If your pet has health issues, disabilities or behavioral issues, disclose them. Oftentimes, these are things that potential adopters respond to.
    • Flyers are inexpensive to produce and often highly effective, especially when they include a good photo and description of your pet.
    • Visit where you can combine a photo and the description of your dog into a flyer by following the simple instructions.

4. Getting your dog out there.

    • Contact family, friends and co-workers and let them know your pet needs a new, loving, quality home. Ask them to spread the word.
    • Post flyers throughout your community where a good prospective adopter may see it: Veterinarian’s offices, pet food stores, health food stores, supermarkets, churches, health clubs, etc.
    • Adoption websites are another effective way to find a new home for your pet, such as
    • Contact your local shelter to find out if they have an online adoption page where you could list your pet.
    • If you have a specific breed of dog, research a breed rescue group to contact them about listing your dog for adoption.
    • Do a Google search of rescues and shelters in your area. While they may not be able to take your dog, they may do a courtesy posting on their website or let you bring your pet to an adoption event.
    • Get your dog out meeting people. Walks, to local pet supply stores, parks, etc. The more the pet is out and interacting with people, the better the chances your dog has to meet her/his new family.

5. IMPORTANT: Thoroughly check into potential adopters. Go to where they live and watch how your dog interacts with them and how they interact with your pet. Ask about previous pets and veterinarians. If there are any red flags or feelings of unease, don’t put your pet in a potentially bad situation.

6. Shelter vs home. It is easy to think a rescue or shelter would be better at placing your pet because of experience, etc., but you know your dog and can provide first-hand information to prospective adopters and be the one to decide which new home and family would be best.

Also, allowing your pet to remain with you while a new home is found is also less stressful for them than being in a shelter, where stress-related problems can occur: anxiety, aggression, and even illness are common. These reactions are natural to the change in circumstances can make adoption difficult or impossible.


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