How to Rehome a Dog

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Rehome A DogWhen you first got your dog, you probably planned on giving it the best life you could afford to give, but sometimes life happens. Perhaps your new pet has health problems or behavioral concerns that are beyond your control. Maybe someone in the family is allergic to dogs or there is a sudden need for financial assistance that leaves little to care for your furry friend.    

As a result, you now find yourself having to make the difficult decision of finding a new home for your beloved pet. If you’re feeling guilty, don’t be so hard on yourself; finding a new family for your pet is the most humane option you can give your pup. In this comprehensive guide, we share how to rehome a dog, while answering the questions you may have during the surrender process.   

What Does Rehoming a Dog Mean? 

When you rehome a dog, you’ll be transferring your pet to a good home where it will be safe and happy which is much better than people who abandon their pets. Finding a suitable family that will be able to care for your dog will give it the best chance at a long and fulfilling life. It’s also the best option to keep your dog from going to a local shelter or animal rescues, where they will live inside kennels

Unfortunately for these dogs, their environment will be overcrowded and many of them will never find a family or forever home. This is why it’s much better to look for potential new owners who can offer your pooch the best home for them.       

Reasons Why Pet Owners Should Consider Rehoming

Before you think about giving your dog to new people, it’s best to exhaust each and every one of the options around you — rehoming should be the last resort. Because you and your pup have already established a routine and bond, rehoming will be a stressful step for both of you. Be sure to conduct extensive research first before making a decision for your pet’s future — there are plenty of rescue organizations and programs that help low-income families keep their pets at home.  

Many people surrender their pets thinking that there are no other options available to them but this isn’t true. In many cases, when dog owners wish to keep their pooch they will be able to with just a bit of dedication and direction.  

1. Financial Struggles

If you need to rehome your dog due to financial hardship or a work situation, be sure to talk to your family members or friends to help with your dog until your situation improves or you find a new job. This safer alternative ensures that your canine buddy is with familiar faces and you can even visit them whenever you want. You’ll also find that rescue groups are a great resource for veterinary care and food that can help pet owners through hard times.  

If you’re unsure of where to look, try searching “pet food bank” on Google to get started. 

2. Medical Care

No one expects their pets to get sick or injured so when medical problems arise, it can become overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways to keep your pooch by getting assistance with the logistical and financial aspects of providing care for your dog. If you’re facing difficulties paying for vet bills, you might be able to get assistance from a local vet clinic or apply for credit with your veterinarian. 

Maybe your pup will need daily care that you can’t handle — even providing basic care can be hard when you have personal limitations or a lot of work. If this is the case, talk to your vet about your dog’s treatment and care options. You may also hire a pet sitter to assist you with dog treatments and a dog walker so you don’t have to spend too much time with your dog. 

3. Behavioral Issues

If your dog has developed behavior issues that seem to be beyond repair, know that you’re not the only one. This is among the most common reasons why a dog owner might rehome their pet; luckily, it can be reduced or eliminated through conditioning, training, and modification. Should you need help with this process, look for an animal behaviorist or dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement during training. 

Animal experts will come with decades of experience with a good understanding of your dog’s situation and will offer expert advice to help with your pet’s profile and determine the best way to rehome it. However, if your pooch has bitten an animal or someone, be sure to speak to a behavioral expert before looking for a potential family to adopt it. Doing this will help you find the right home for your pup while keeping those around it safe.       

How to Rehome a Dog

If you feel that rehoming your dog is the best thing to do, you’ll need to start looking for the perfect match for your pup. Take the time to write up a pet profile for your dog that contains its name, age, medical history, weight, health issues, and medications. You should also describe your dog’s temperament and history while highlighting special needs and behavioral problems.    

The next thing you need to do is think about the prospective adopter and the kind of environment they can offer your furbaby. Consider your dog’s needs and see if the new home will be able to cater for your dog. For instance, if your pooch finds it hard to get along with other dogs, a single-pet family is a great option. 

When it comes to high-energy dogs, a home with an active family will be a good fit, but if your pup finds it hard to navigate stairs, look for a home with a single floor. Make sure that you look through the adoption contract or check your dog’s paperwork with the breeder where you purchased the dog. Some organizations will be willing to take your dog back if you’re no longer able to provide it with a home.   

Doing this will at least allow the local animal shelter or humane society to take responsibility for the dog while using your feedback to place it with the right family. Even if there was no agreement on returning dogs, many rescue groups and breeders will take back dogs to make sure they find their forever home. You can also contact breed rescues to check if they accept dogs in foster programs — this is a good idea if you have a purebred dog

Keep in mind that some rescues and organizations may charge a rehoming fee to cover the expenses of rehoming your dog. If you’re unable to find the right choice for your pup using one of the methods above, then you could start the search for a new home for your pooch. You can get started screening for potential adopters by approaching reliable sources. 

Ask a trusted staff member in your vet’s office or look for others who will be able to adopt a dog. You may also use social media to spread the news and look for pet parents who can take good care of your pooch. Animal shelters may also be able to help place your pup in a foster home, to give it the proper care it needs while waiting for your situation to change.

If this is your first time rehoming a pet, local animal shelters may also offer you tips on how to screen people for the right home for your dog. You may also look up online resources such as Rehome to help you connect with people searching for their new pooch. For your dog’s well-being and your safety, avoid going on anonymous sources such as Craigslist since you won’t be able to screen people properly here.         

How Do Dogs Feel When They’re Rehomed? 

Rehoming is an emotional experience for both of you — feelings of sadness and guilt may take hold but you need to understand that what’s happening is the right thing for all those involved. However, dogs may suffer differently and could experience separation anxiety as they transition. Fortunately, they will benefit from positive and calm interactions with other animals and new people. 

Staying in touch with your dog’s new owner can be helpful in times when additional information or medical records are required. Many dogs will be able to adjust slowly over the course of a few weeks and will be comfortable and happy in their new loving home. 

FAQs on Pet Rehoming 

Here are just a few of the most asked questions when pet parents go through this process. 

Is it Bad to Be Selective About Where to Rehome a Dog? 

No, there’s nothing wrong with going through a highly selective process when looking to rehome your dog. In fact, experts suggest that you take your time when looking for a new family to love your dog. Choosing a family based on your dog’s needs and personality is crucial for building a successful relationship between dogs and their humans. 

What Should I Do Once I’ve Exhausted All My Options? 

There are a few things you can do to help with your search for the perfect home for your dog. 

  • You may contact rescue groups and organizations
  • Rehome your dog yourself through your friends and family
  • Make your dog’s profile including all its information
  • Post ads for dog rehoming on social media and local ads

How Should I Describe My Dog’s Optimal Home and Environment? 

Give your potential adopters a summary of your dog’s needs and preferences and describe the kind of life it had in your home. Consider how your dog reacts to other pets and young kids. It will also help to consider the kind of people that will be suitable for your dog’s energy and personality. In other words, give them an idea of the kind of home your pet will need.   

What Does My Pet Need Before Rehoming? 

In general, dogs will need to take a wellness exam before being rehomed and ensure that all their vaccinations are updated. Be sure to make an online pet profile that details all of your dog’s information, unique qualities, and veterinary records. Doing this will help people get to know your dog and possibly encourage them to adopt. 

What Should I Expect from the Rehoming Process? 

You need to know that this won’t be an easy process and it will take some patience. Even if you’re in a hurry to rehome your pup, be sure to give your pooch plenty of love, care, and time during the whole rehoming journey. Be sure to remind the new owners of your dog to keep the following in mind. 

  • Your dog may not eat: Your pooch is going through a lot of stress, so don’t worry if it skips meals during the first day. 
  • Don’t stress too much: Try not to do anything stressful while your dog is trying to settle into its new home.
  • Assure the new owners: Getting used to a new environment will take some time and accidents may happen. 
  • Keep in touch with them: Keep your lines open and encourage them to call you if they ever need help. 


Luckily, there are plenty of resources for you to look into when it comes to rehoming your beloved dog, but be sure to exhaust all of your options first before considering this option. The first step in this process is to do extensive research into all the ways in which you can keep your dog with you. If you find that you can’t keep your dog, make sure to find the best home for your pup where it will grow happy and healthy for the years to come.