Resource Center Menu

How to Avoid Re-homing Your Family Dog

There are many reasons why you may need to re-home your dog. It's a drastic decision and one that should never be made on the spur of the moment. Often, there are ways to work around re-homing, and it's up to every responsible dog parent to attempt to resolve any situation before having to make this final and permanent choice.

Here are the main reasons dogs are re-homed.

Behavioral Issues

Behavioral issues are the primary reason that dogs lose their homes and end up in shelters. It could be inappropriate elimination inside the home, constant barking, disobedience and even the destruction of both household and personal items. These are all training-related issues; there are numerous pet professionals, such as behaviorists, trainers and veterinarians, you can turn to for advice. Re-homing should only be an option when all attempts to resolve the issue have failed.


Dogs can find themselves in a shelter for children suddenly acting aggressive. There may be reasons for such sudden acts of aggression. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian and/or a dog trainer about the behavior, and what may have caused it, to help determine the next best step for your family and for the pet.


Moving to a new home or re-locating to a different city or state an raise stress levels, as you attempt to manage your move logistics and find a new home. Before planning your move, try to make arrangements to take your animal or allow yourself time to find pet-friendly housing. There are pet relocation specialists who are trained to make relocations stress-free for both the pet and the parent. There is a lot of information available to help your dog adjust to a new environment easily.

Landlord Restrictions

There are many rentals that do not allow pets. It's never a good idea to try and hide the pet from the landlord because you may find yourself in a situation where you are forced to re-home a pet on very short notice. It's better to be upfront and offer to pay a bigger pet deposit. Alternatively, there are now pet-friendly rental agencies and by working with one, you know that your pet will be welcome in your new home.

The Cost

Often, people who respond to advertisements that say "free to a good home" acquire the dog without seriously understanding the financial implications of pet parenting. Illness, unexpected expenses or the loss of a job could change the financial position of the household. If you are in dire straits, there are organizations that will help you pay for food and veterinary care on a short-term basis until your situation improves.

Pet Health Issues

Pets can develop serious health issues and the necessary medications, treatments or surgeries can cost a lot of money that cannot be absorbed by the family budget. In such cases, re-homing is a better option that euthanizing your dog. However, there are also organizations that will help you pay for expensive surgeries. So be sure to research your options. It's also a good idea to consider getting pet insurance as soon as you get your new pet. You also can start a pet veterinarian account and put money into it monthly, so you’ll have the funds you need should the need arise. If you do need to re-home you dog, be sure to tell the new pet parent about all of his medical conditions in advance.

No Time for the Dog

Often families adopt a dog on the constant urging from young children keen to have a furry playmate. However, taking care of pets and seeing to their exercise regime and other matters to ensure the pet is well socialized and properly trained is an adult responsibility that should be researched. Consider employing a trainer to teach your pet manners or sending your dog to doggie day care several times a week before the final decision to re-home.

No Homes for Litter Mates

A dog adopted from a shelter will have been spayed or neutered before being entrusted into your care. However, when a pet has been acquired from family, friends or acquaintances, this may not be the case. This means you could find yourself with unwanted litters of puppies. There may not be room in the family home for more pets, or the finances to take care of their daily needs. Spaying and neutering household pets can eradicate this problem and generally help curb pet overpopulation.

Another reason for re-homing that occurs frequently is when pets in the household don't get along with one another. Behaviorists often suggest partitioning the home with a pet gate so that both pets can co-exist peacefully. They can also provide valuable tips on proper introduction and socialization techniques which can help you break down the barrier within your home.

Lifestyle Changes

There are a variety of lifestyle changes that result in a pet being re-homed such as illness, divorce, the death of a spouse or the loss of a job. Even the arrival of a new baby is often cited as a reason for removing the dog from the household. Well-trained and well-socialized dogs are usually no threat to a new baby or even a toddler. It's great to bring kids and pets up together from a young age. With time and patience, it can be done.

Allergies Among Family Members

Both children and adults can suddenly develop allergies to the family dog. Another typical scenario is when a dog parent gets married or moves in with someone who is allergic to dog hair or dander. Sometimes antihistamine medication taken short-term can help to resolve this issue.

Many of the dogs found in shelters today are there as a result of a re-homing situation. If you can avoid re-homing your dog, you're giving an existing shelter dog a greater chance of finding his forever home.