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Rehoming Your Dog: Knowing When It’s Time to Let Go

Rehoming Your Dog: Knowing When It’s Time to Let Go

They say a dog is a man’s best friend. Dogs are faithful, loyal companions that shower us with endless unconditional love. Whether you live alone or with family, having a dog adds something special to your home; something you simply cannot attach a price to.

Now think of the prospect of having to give your lovely pet up. It can be devastating, to say the least. The pain of saying goodbye can last for months. Every day you wake up will be a constant reminder that something is missing.

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And while all this is painful, there comes a time when rehoming your dog is the best option for all parties. The bond we form with our pets bestows on us a responsibility to ensure they are always in good care.

That’s why a time might come when you realise you’re no longer able to give your pet the best care, and the only thing you can do is find a better home for them.

This article will act as a guide to help you know when it is time to consider rehoming your dog, the options available to you, and ways to identify the right options.

Reasons to consider rehoming your dog

No one adopts a new pet with the view of rehoming them in the future. However, unforeseen circumstances may force you to consider finding them a new home. Possible reasons to consider rehoming your dog include:

1. Aggression or other behavioural problems

Some dog breeds are generally more aggressive by nature. However, if your dog is aggressive towards family members, strangers, and other dogs all the time then it’s never safe to have them in your home. Extremely aggressive dogs can bite people, kids, and other pets, which causes injuries and unexpected medical bills.

2. Health issues that require special care

It will be expensive to provide medical care for a dog with recurrent health problems such as gastrointestinal issues, skin infections, and eye diseases. Common behavioural issues such as severe separation anxiety and canine obsessive-compulsive disorders are difficult to manage and can be expensive in the long run.

3. Owner is no longer able to provide care

You should consider rehoming your dog if you’re no longer able to provide adequate quality care for them. Things that can affect your ability to provide quality care include:

  • A long-term injury that affects your mobility and/or agility
  • A long-term medical condition that inhibits your ability to provide care
  • High recurring medical bills due to a persistent health issue
  • A worsening physical or mental condition that affects your ability to provide care
  • Moving to a long-term care facility due to illness or old age

4. Family mismatch and changing schedules

A mismatch can be a genuine reason to consider rehoming your dog. Sometimes the dog can be hyperactive and always wants to play all the time. This becomes a problem if none of the family members can match the dog’s energy levels and eagerness for play.

The mismatch can also arise due to unrealistic expectations when adopting a dog or shifts in family schedules. If work schedules change for everyone in the family and it becomes impossible to find time to care for the dog, finding them a new home might be the best and only option.

5. Wrong dog for the situation

Pet owners acquire dogs for different reasons. Some do so for companionship, others look for service dogs, and others get dogs for specific tasks such as narcotics detection. When the unfortunate happens and you realize the dog you got is unsuited for the desired role, you might be forced to consider rehoming. It is justifiable to find a new home for your dog and choose another that suits the desired purpose.

Options for rehoming a dog

Once you decide it is the right time to rehome your dog, consider any of the following options:

1. Return the dog to the breeder, shelter, or rescue group

The easiest route to take when thinking about letting go of your pet dog is to return them to the breeder, shelter, or rescue group you acquired them from. Most responsible breeders and reputable shelters require you to return the pet to them if you ever consider rehoming them. They can also allow you to rehome to someone you know but they will need to pre-approve them first.

2. Give to a trusted friend or family member

If the reason you’re rehoming your dog has nothing to do with them being aggressive, sick, or disruptive, you can identify a close friend or family member and ask them if they can take the dog. However, this might not be an ideal option if your dog has health complications or behavioural issues.

3. Take the dog to a reputable shelter or rescue

Finding a reputable shelter or rescue for your dog is not a hard task. Responsible shelters provide quality care and medical treatment that could otherwise be unaffordable for pet owners with financial constraints.

Reputable shelters work with licensed professionals to try and rehabilitate dogs with behavioural issues so that they can be given up for adoption.

How to find the right home for your dog

Now that you’ve made a conscious decision to find a new home for your dog, how do you find a good home for your pet?

1. Advertise to have your dog adopted

You can advertise on different platforms such as Facebook, Craigslist, or bulletin boards to have your dog adopted. Make sure to clearly state the reasons why you’re looking for a new home for your dog.

Attach good pictures or videos along with a short description because people want to see the dog for themselves before making a decision. You can also ask your friends to share on their socials because one of their friends could be looking to adopt a pet.

2. Look for pet rescue groups

You can find rescue groups on social platforms such as Facebook. They share their success stories about rehoming pets, including dogs. Get in touch and inquire whether they can take your dog. Make sure to document every detail about your dog’s condition, health, and the reasons you’re looking for a new home for them.

3. Use reputable pet rehomers

Look for top-rated websites that connect pet lovers with responsible breeders. Check their reviews and visit social platforms to see what other adopters say about them. You can also check review sites to see if they have raving reviews or if their customers were left disappointed. PetsforHomes is a leading service provider that guarantees buyer safety and connects you to registered breeders with lifetime rehoming plans.

Alternative to rehoming your dog

What if you cannot rehome your dog? What then do you do? As pet owners, we never want to think of the unthinkable, or about putting down our pets. However, there are many valid reasons to put your dog down.

A dog with significant health issues or old-age complications may not be able to be rehomed. It may not be fair to ask someone else to care for such a dog when the dog may not have long to live, or may not survive the process of being rehomed. 

As much as we do not want to give up on our pets, sometimes their quality of life is so compromised that the most humane thing to do is to let them go. If you think this may be the case, you’ll need to consult your veterinarian to determine the best way to proceed.


Rehoming a dog, or any pet for that matter, is never an easy thing to do. Choosing it’s time to say goodbye can be accompanied by a flood of tears and feelings of guilt, especially if you have spent years together. However, it is a selfless show of love to give up your pet if you know they will get better care elsewhere.

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