Rehoming Your Pet

There are a number of sad but legitimate reasons for giving a pet up. Many pet owners believe that if they relinquish their dog or cat to a shelter, it will automatically be adopted. That is not true. Many shelters are forced to euthanize due to overcrowding. Owner turn-ins can be put down the same day. Even in shelters with space to house a surrendered pet, the pet’s age, breed, temperament, behavioral or medical issues may render it unadoptable. And for all animals, entering a shelter is terrifying.

Before you consider surrendering your pet, please check out some of our solutions to the most common problems.

Moving to a Place that Does Not Allow Pets

Don’t give up too quickly in your search to find pet-friendly housing. If you keep looking, you will find one. An internet search for pet-friendly housing in your area often brings good results. Here are some resources we recommend:


As a tenant and pet owner in the Los Angeles area, you have rights. If you are being harassed by your landlord or management company, please visit:


To encourage a landlord to let you keep your dog or cat:

  • Show your landlord that you’re a responsible owner. Bring your well-groomed, well-behaved animal for a meet and greet. If you have an obedience class diploma or a Canine Good Citizen certificate, bring it along.
  • Offer an additional pet deposit.
  • Bring references from your previous landlords and/or dog trainer.
  • Include a heartfelt letter with your rental application that outlines all of the above.
  • Don’t think you’re being unfair to your dog by moving into a smaller place than what he’s used to. Dogs are very adaptable, and they want to stay with their owners.

You Don't Have Time for Your Pet

Unfortunately, your pet does not have a voice. He can’t tell you that he would rather stay with the family he has known and loved all his life. Spending time with our pets has many health benefits, including reducing stress. Here are some ways to find more quality time:

  • Take your dog to work.
  • Make your fitness plan pet-friendly.
  • Take more selfies together.
  • Plan a dog-friendly vacation.
  • Read more, watch movies, cuddle more.
  • Commit to dog-friendly community events like
  • Practice new tricks together.
  • Get your pet a friend to keep it company.

Your Pet has Behavioral Issues

Training can solve most problems. If you can’t take the time and effort to learn how to better communicate with your animal, why would someone else? Dogs and cats have the ability to learn and change their behavior.

DOGS - Search here to find a certified professional dog trainer in your area:


Pit bull owners in Los Angeles, please visit:


CATS - Search here for articles about solving common cat behavioral issues:



Research has shown that exposure to pets during infancy may prevent people from developing allergies.

Join the large number of animal lovers who manage their allergies and live happily and healthily with their beloved pets. Start by checking if you are truly allergic to your pet, and, if you are, try these solutions.

  • If you have allergies, find out what else you’re allergic to. By eliminating other allergens from your life, you may be able to better tolerate the one allergen you don’t want to give up.
  • Try avoiding other people’s pets rather than your own. Often people with pet allergies develop some tolerance to their own critters.
  • Clean and vacuum regularly.
  • Have a groomer (or anyone besides you) give your pets a good bath. But don’t bother shaving your pets! Some might not like it, and it probably won’t help, since it’s saliva, not fur, that’s causing the problem.
  • Buy an air purifier that’s designed to eliminate allergens. (Not all air filters are created equal!)
  • If you’ve taken allergy medications in the past, check with your doctor to make sure you’re on the latest and best. Enormous improvements have been made very recently.

Find more helpful information about pet allergies


I Just Had a Baby

Having a baby can be overwhelming. Plan ahead so you can keep your pet when your new child arrives.

  • Consider calling a professional dog trainer to address any issues and introduce some new structure that might be needed when a child comes into your home. Dog training can give you the confidence you need to handle whatever might come up. Search here to find a certified professional dog trainer in your area:
  • Hire a dog walker/pet sitter to come in few times a week to lighten your load.
  • If you are pregnant, please don’t believe the myth that you can’t be around cats. You can. You just aren’t supposed to change their litter box anymore. So, here’s a great idea! Get that husband or significant other to do it.

Here are some helpful articles about pets and babies:


You Can No Longer Afford Your Pet

If you are having financial difficulties, there are lots of resources on the internet to help you. Here is a list from the HSUS –

Care Credit – personal line of credit for healthcare treatments and procedures for your entire family, including your pets. Phone: (800) 677-0718

Still Need to Rehome?

If you have read all the information above and still need to find a home for your pet, here are some options:

1. Return your pet to the shelter, rescue group or breeder you acquired it from. Responsible adoption organizations and breeders contractually require this, although some may allow you to rehome to someone you know that they pre-approve.

Caveats: If the place where you got your dog was less than reputable (for example, with overcrowded, poor conditions), don’t return the dog there. If you got her from a pet store or puppy mill (oh dear), returning is not an option.

2. Place your pet with a trusted friend or family member. Well-loved, well-behaved, healthy dogs usually have a circle of admirers who jump at the chance to adopt her.

Caveats: Even your best friend or favorite relative may decline to take on a dog with major health or behavior challenges. You must be honest about these challenges.

3. Use social media to advertise to a trusted audience. People sometimes have success with rehoming dogs by advertising on social media. Put together some good pictures and a complete description of your dog (and the reasons you must rehome her) and ask your friends to share. You never know: a friend of a friend may have a perfect spot for the dog.

Caveats: Try to allow for plenty of time (weeks or even months) to network in search of a perfect new owner for your dog. It’s not easy to screen potential adopters – you risk placing your dog with someone who won’t provide the kind of loving care you want for him, despite their assurances (this goes triple if she has health or behavior issues). There have been recent news stories about dogs placed in new homes free of charge by owners, shelters, and rescue groups, only to have to purported adopters “flip” (sell) the free dogs. Always do a home check to see where your pet will be going, and don’t give your animal away for free to a stranger.

4. Take your pet to a good shelter or rescue. There are thousands of excellent pet adoption services around the country. Many provide medical treatment for at least some of the cats and dogs in their care that owners couldn’t afford. The best have behavior departments or working relationships with qualified professionals to modify difficult behaviors in order to make dogs more likely to succeed in their next, hopefully final, homes. Not everything is fixable, and responsible groups still have to make difficult euthanasia decisions, but your pet might be one they can help.

Caveats: Be sure you research these groups diligently. Visit the facility to see that it’s clean and well run. If you can’t visit, don’t leave your pet there. If they won’t give you straight answers about their willingness to treat medical issues or modify difficult behaviors, don’t leave your pet there. If your pet isn’t adopted, she may suffer in a cage at a “no-kill” shelter for the rest of her life, or worse, in the hands of a hoarder posing as a shelter or rescue. Again, you must be brutally honest about your pet’s health or behavior problems.

5. Have your pet euthanized. As painful as this, it may be the kindest thing you can do if your pet has extreme health and/or behavior issues. It may not be realistic to ask someone else to care for such a dog, and she could be abused or neglected in the process. Dying peacefully in the arms of someone who loves her is better than dying neglected in someone’s backyard, or after spending weeks, months, or years in the stressful environment of a shelter.

6. List your pet on’s website. This is a search engine that most rescues use to get their pets adopted.