What If I need to Re-Home my Dog?
Giving up a pet can be a very difficult and emotional decision to make. However, sometimes family circumstances change in such a way that keeping a dog, and providing for its needs, is no longer a viable option. This situation is arising for many dog owners in the current economic climate and many people find themselves in the upsetting position of having to re-home their dog. If you are thinking about re-homing your dog, read our Holidays4Dogs article for support and information.
There are many genuine reasons why people have to give up their pet. Of course, the fact remains, many others will abandon their dog simply because they are fed up with it, or can’t face the commitment that dog owning demands.
For many, however, it is a heart-wrenching decision having to find a new home for a beloved pet. One of the major reasons for people re-homing their pets is a financial one. In the current economic climate, where all members of the family have to work long hours to make ends meet, there is often no time, or money, to cater for the family dog. The rising cost of living including basics like food, extends to pet food too. Pet food costs have soared, which means family pets are being hit by the cost of living crisis too.
As well as this, more people rent properties and landlords are becoming more particular about the presence of pets in their properties. When people need to move, perhaps to follow employment, it can be tricky to find accommodation that will accept pets. Retirement complexes very often won’t accept pets, either – although, there is hope this situation may improve for older people with pets.
There are many other personal specific reasons that people may go through – traumatic life experiences, or long term illness, for example. There are lots of genuine circumstances, where owners have no option but to find a new loving family for their pet.
In the last couple of years the Dogs Trust have experienced record numbers of people needing to re-home their dogs. In July 2022, they received 4,370 inquiries – the highest number since their records began. With food, fuel and mortgage payments at an all time high, people are finding it harder and harder to pay for family pets. This also has a knock-on effect on people adopting dogs.
Things to consider before making a decision to re-home your dog.
If you find yourself in the position of having to re-home your dog, the first thing to do is consider whether there are any possible changes you could make, in order to keep your dog.
If your work situation has changed for example, is it possible to seek the assistance of a friend, family member, or dog walker, who could exercise your dog while you are not at home? This isn’t always the best solution as some dogs may find being alone for long periods stressful.
Take your dog to work?
Another alternative is to consider whether your dog could accompany you to work? If you are self employed and work away from the home, this could be an option. Or, if you have a sympathetic boss, a well behaved dog and a suitable working environment, could this be a possibility?
Do you work from home? If money is still tight and you work from home, could you become a carer for Holidays4Dogs? This would give you some much needed extra money, with little change to your current routine with your existing dog. You can find out more here.
For people on low income, there are many charities that will provide support to owners in genuine financial difficulties. One of the major charities, the PDSA, have practices in most areas that can help with veterinary fees. You must be eligible and ideally make an application before treatment. The Blue Cross, the RSPCA and The Dogs Trust also have schemes to assist pet owners on low incomes.
Is it possible to change your dog’s diet to a cheaper one? Some of the supermarket brands can be considerably cheaper. However, make sure the food is appropriate for your dog’s age and always make sure you change foods gradually. Don’t feed your dog left over human food as this could be toxic. Consider making home-made dog treats. The RSPCA have opened pet food banks and you can search for the nearest one to you here. Some branches of the Dogs Trust have also opened pet food banks – you can find out more here.
If you feel your dog’s behaviour is causing an issue, do consider getting help with training. There are many problems which may seem insurmountable, but which can be vastly improved with some expert advise and help. Find help from a good trainer, or behaviourist. Alternatively, attendance at a local dog club could make a huge difference to your knowledge on how to train your dog at a reasonable cost. For details of the Dogs Trust discounted behaviour training click here.
Options if you have to re-home your dog?
Sometimes, the dog may just be totally unsuitable to the environment or, circumstances may drastically change which means keeping your dog, is no longer a viable prospect. One word of warning, though – be very careful about advertising your dog. There are many unscrupulous buyers around who may be less than honest about the home they can offer.
Certain breeds can be challenging for some owners, particularly novice dog owners. Border collies, for example, are a popular and fantastic breed – but they are not for everyone. Many people assume that collies can be placed easily into new farm homes, if they do not suit as pets. However, this is not usually the case. Farmers, and owners of working dogs, will generally obtain puppies from proven working stock.
A new job for your dog?
In some circumstances and with a suitable dog, the police or armed forces, will occasionally take on family dogs that show aptitude for work. If you have a spaniel, collie, GSD or other type of working dog that you need to rehome, you could try getting in touch with your local forces who may consider assessing your dog.
Get support from local and national rescue centres.
If there is no other option, get in touch with your local rescue centres for advice. Also contact other national organisations such as the Dogs Trust, RSPCA, PDSA etc. Also, contact your vet as they may be able to keep their ears open for potential new owners for your dog amongst their current client list.
Some people are averse to their dog going into kennels while waiting to be re-homed. However, all registered rescue establishments, will have strict criteria about re-homing. They will find your dog the best home possible by assessing and home checking prospective new owners. Some rescue organisations work with foster homes – so your dog won’t necessarily have to go into a kennel.
Do bear in mind – rescue kennels are often full, – particularly at the moment. You may have to wait for a space to become available. Don’t assume a rescue organisation can take your dog immediately, as this is highly unlikely.
Breed rescue societies.
If your dog is a pedigree, many breed societies run re-homing schemes. Again, you may have to wait for a space to become available. Breed rescues usually operate with foster homes, not kennels. Alternatively, you can keep your dog at home until a suitable match arises.
Breed clubs will assess and home check new owners, but this isn’t an instant process. Many societies are run on a voluntary basis with no funding. You may be asked to make a small donation if you wish to re-home your dog via a breed rescue society.
Bear in mind, it can take some time to find your dog a suitable new home. Part of being a responsible owner, is ensuring your pet has suitable a new home if you are no longer able to care for it.
Finally, you could try getting in touch with the breeder of your dog. Some responsible breeders will take back any dog they have bred if circumstances change for the new owners. Breeders are not obliged to do this – indeed, some may be struggling financially themselves. However, it is worth a try.
Being in the situation of having to give up a much loved family dog can cause a great deal of emotional upset. However, keep things in perspective and try not to feel guilty. Ultimately, you are acting in the best interests of your dog and being honest about what you can, and cannot, provide.
While our dogs do bond with us, they will bond equally well with a new owner. Dog’s do not mull over their circumstances or hold grudges. Dogs generally live in the moment, so you need not feel you have abandoned your dog. Instead, accept that you have provided him with a positive new opportunity to live in a more suitable environment, where his needs can be met and where he will be thoroughly loved just the same.
FOR PET RSPCA PET FOOD BANKS CLICK HERE.
FOR DOGS TRUST PET FOOD BANKS TRY HERE.
FOR DISCOUNTED BEHAVIOUR TRAINING WITH THE DOGS TRUST FOLLOW THIS LINK.
FOR HELP WITH VETERINARY COSTS CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION FROM THE BLUE CROSS.
IF YOU ARE A PET OWNER WHO IS HOMELESS OR AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS CLICK HERE FOR HELP AND ADVICE FROM DOGS TRUST.