Dog Articles - If You Must Give Up Your Dog

If You Must Give Up Your Dog

I’ve written before about ways you can hold on to your dog if you’re thinking you might have to give him up. However, I understand that sometimes it just isn’t a possibility to keep your beloved family friend, no matter how much you wish you could. So, today I’m going to tell you about the best ways to find a new home for your pooch.

First of all, the worst way: You should absolutely not just let your dog go to fend for himself. Some people think this is the better alternative to surrendering a dog to a shelter because many shelters euthanize dogs for whom they cannot find homes within a certain amount of time. This is a TERRBLE idea! Dogs have been domesticated for generations upon generations upon generations, and your dog has probably lived in a home his whole life. Instinct will kick in to some extent, but our dogs just aren’t made to live in the wilderness anymore. Besides, chances are he’ll be picked up by animal control and will end up in a shelter anyway. Learn more about the dangers of Letting You Dog Roam.

So, that’s not even an option. With that out of the way, your last resort should be surrendering your dog to an SPCA, Humane Society, or other local dog shelter. Most shelters are underfunded, low on space, and generally overwhelmed as it is. If you can find a home for your pooch yourself, you’ll be doing your local shelter a huge favor by freeing up a space for some other dog who needs their help.

Foster Home
If you’re considering giving your dog to a shelter just because you need to get him out of your home right now, consider trying to find him a foster home. It is much easier to find someone who will commit to care for your dog for a short period of time, rather than forever. This way, you don’t have to take up space in a shelter, and you have time to find a perfect forever home for your dog.

Family, Friends, Coworkers
Ask around among the people you know and trust first. There’s no better way to guarantee your dog will be loved and safe than to have him adopted to a home where you can visit.

The Breeder
If you got your dog from a breeder, give them a call and see if they will take him back. Responsible breeders consider themselves responsible for every life they have a hand in creating, and will gladly take your dog and place him in a safe and loving home. The best breeders will even make you sign a contract when you get the dog, stating that you will return him if ever you cannot keep him.

Your Vet
Ask your vet if they know anyone who might want your dog. They most likely know a family who is looking for another dog, has recently lost a dog , or just has such a big heart, they won’t be able to say no to adding just one more dog to their family, and will be able to care for him. Vets also have the inside scoop on who keeps their pets healthy and happy.

Newspaper, Craigslist, Social Networking
If you don’t find the right home with the above options, place an ad in your local newspaper, on Craigslist, on social networking sites, and on rescue websites (like the Rescue Dog section on With this option you MUST be discerning. Everyone who offers to take care of your dog isn’t looking out for his best interests. Charging an adoption feel will, for the most part, weed out those who aren’t serious about owning a dog or who wish to harm your dog, fight you dog, or donate him for animal research. Around 200 dollars is sufficient to shoo these folks away. If you just can’t stomach profiting on the sale of your dog, donate the $200 to your local shelter in your dog’s name.

When you get responses, screen carefully. Ask them for references, and call them. Ask them if they have other pets. Ask them what vet they use if they have other pets or have in the past, and call that vet. Ask them if they rent or own. If they rent, call their landlord and make sure they allow pets in the home. Ask where the dog will sleep. Ask if they have kids. Ask how much time the dog will spend alone each day. Ask about their training, obedience, and discipline philosophy. Ask how they intend to exercise the dog. Ask if they have a yard.  

If their answers are all satisfactory, have them meet you and your dog (bring a friend, just to be on the safe side) in a public place so they can meet. Watch how the person interacts with your dog. Are they confident? Do they seem like they will be the kind of people you want caring for your friend? Is your dog cool with them? If the initial meeting goes well, schedule a home visit. Again, bring someone with you and your dog and go check out their home. Is it sanitary? Is it safe? Does it look like it would be a good home for the dog? Even if it does, take your dog home and think about it. Play their interactions over in your head. Picture their home; can you picture your dog there? If you are comfortable with the idea and honestly feel like it is a safe, happy home, you’ve found the perfect place.

Never be afraid to say “I’m sorry, it’s just not right.”

Breed Rescues
If you cannot find the right home through the above means, your next step is a breed rescue. Look online for rescues for your dog’s breed. They usually have breed surrender forms you can fill out to find out if your dog is eligible to be surrendered. If so, they will take your dog, place him in a foster home, and tirelessly search until they find him a forever home. Keep in mind that most rescues charge a surrender fee to cover the care of your dog until they find him a home.

A Word about the Truth
It is vital that you be completely honest with prospective owners about your dog. White lies and lies of omission may help you unload your dog faster, but they drastically increase the possibility that this will not be the right home for your dog. Not giving the whole story makes it likely that he will end up elsewhere, maybe someplace dangerous, and maybe even euthanized.

So, tell prospective owners whether or not your dog is dog friendly, cat friendly, safe around kids, house trained, crate trained, aggressive, spayed or neutered, or high energy. Tell them if he is shy, or has behavior problems or health issues. Tell them where and how he sleeps. Tell them what commands he knows. Tell them if he is skittish or if he’s dubious of strangers. Tell them if he is very protective. Tell them all the good stuff too. Tell them if he is awesome at catch or if he’s a cuddly couch potato. Tell them what his favorite treats are and what kinds of games he likes to play. Only if a prospective owner is comfortable with all this information is this likely to be the right home.

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