I Need to Rehome my Dog - What are my Options & Next Steps!

While no well-meaning dog owner ever intends for the situation arise, occasionally dogs must be rehomed. There are a number of reasons why an owner may relinquish a beloved pet, most commonly because of inability to care for the dog due to disability or medical condition, or due to a dramatic change in lifestyle. Pet owners should be aware of the correct way to rehome a pet, one that ensures the safety of the animal.

Try to Fix Training/Behavioral Issues

A top reason that an animal is rehomed is due to training – or lack thereof. Nearly every behavioral problem in a dog can be fixed with the proper attention, including separation anxiety, fear aggression, lack of socialization, excessive digging, chewing, marking, hyperactivity, and humping. If the reason you are rehoming your pet is due to a seemingly “unfixable” behavior, make sure you have exhausted all of your training options before relinquishing your dog.

Reach out to Local SPCA

Sometimes owners feel they must give up their pet because they have fallen on tough times. In reality, there are a number of resources available to pet owners that can provide financial help with food, veterinary bills, training, and boarding. Overall, the number one goal of SPCA chapters is to keep dogs out of the shelter, so many will do whatever it takes to help an animal stay with its family.

Ask Family/Friends for Help

If your pet is part of the family, your own friends and family will understand if you are in a tight spot. Reach out and see if they can be of any help, whether by taking in your pet or providing financial assistance. Many times friends and family members are the best resource for marketing your dog to a potential adopter, and can ensure that your dog is adopted by someone you trust, instead of a stranger.

Research Local Rescues

If giving up your dog is unavoidable, research local rescues instead of taking your dog to a shelter where it risks euthanasia. Even in a no-kill shelter, dogs that are used to living with a family can suffer emotional trauma from being left behind in an unfamiliar place with other scared dogs. Most rescues are foster-based, meaning your dog would stay with another family that has passed a lengthy application process and has undergone extensive training in caring for rehomed animals. Look for a rescue that has a high placement rate and good reviews. If possible, provide the rescue with a donation if you are not giving your pet up due to financial reasons. BlogTO has complied a list of local rescues in Toronto.

Do Not Advertise Online

Above all, never advertise your pet online, such as through Craigslist & Kijiji. Many animals fall victim to horrific abuse at the hands of online ads. Even if you ask for a generous rehoming fee or the person that you speak with “seems” nice, there are many ways to be conned by online scammers who are simply looking for animals for dog fighting rings or even laboratory research.