We are sorry you have found yourself in the very sad and difficult position where you believe you need to rehome your dog. Whilst we may be unable to physically take your dog in at this time and rehome him for you, there’s still lots of practical advice that we can offer you, to ensure you take the right next steps!
Here are your options:
We understand that trying to rehome your dog can be upsetting, difficult and frustrating. You may decide you need to try other options to ‘advertise’ your dog. We would strongly advise you DO NOT use free ads, newspapers, or internet sites to rehome your dog. This could result in him/her being passed on from person to person, bred from, mistreated or even destroyed!
Rehoming yourself means that your dog will not have the security of rescue ‘back-up’ so if you do decide to try this option, please think very carefully. We would advise you always do the following:
Neuter first. Try contacting the Dogs Trust or RSPCA if you need help financially and are on benefits. There are already far too many puppies needing homes in the UK and neutering will effectively put off those who may want to breed and make money from your pet.
Home Check. Arrange to visit the potential new owner at their home address so you are able to check on the suitability of the home offered. We do not recommend allowing your dog to live outside. If the prospective adopters are looking for a pet, he/she should be living as one of the family. Check to see if there is a kennel in the garden/yard. This could indicate otherwise.
The set-up. Look carefully at the potential family’s set-up, are they out at work all day, do they have young children, is there a garden or park nearby, do they have experience with dogs? You need to be sure that the situation they are offering is suitable for your dog. You also need to be as sure as possible that they can offer your dog a secure and loving home for the rest of his/her life.
You may want to try advertising privately through local vets and responsible forums such as...
The Blue Cross also run a rehoming scheme where they can help rehome a dog while it remains in its own home
Make Changes and Keep Your Dog
Please think carefully about the reasons you are rehoming your dog. Often a situation can be resolved with patience and some small changes which would allow you to keep your much-loved companion. We are available to offer advice so please consider this before making any rash decisions, you can call us at the Liverpool shelter on 0151 931 1604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Minor behavioural problems can often be addressed and corrected with gentle, positive, reward-based training in your own home. For more serious issues professional help can be sought, and remember neutering will also curb a lot of unwanted behaviour.
If the problem is financial and you believe it to be temporary, a rescue centre near to you may be able to assist with food supplies on a short-term basis, don’t be afraid to ask.
Dog home alone:
Many experienced and reputable agencies are available to hire and will visit/walk your dog for you if you are out all day. This is often the perfect solution for ensuring the quality of life for your dog whilst avoiding you losing a much-loved member of the family. Consider using a boarding kennel if your situation is desperate, you may find this gives you the breathing space you need to re-assess and to resolve the situation.
Use A Rescue Centre
Firstly, it is important to understand that almost all good rescue centres are under incredible strain due to the sheer numbers of dogs needing to be rehomed. You must try to be patient, and work with the rescue centres in order to secure a place for your dog.
If any of the rescues you contact offer to add your details to a waiting list, we strongly recommend you do so. Give them your full details, along with those of your dog, and keep in regular contact with that rescue afterwards.
It is vital that you remain pro-active and keep in regular touch with as many rescue centres as possible.
Remember your dog is YOUR responsibility (morally and legally) so you must play an active and committed part in the rehoming process. Do everything YOU CAN DO to help your dog, rather than relying totally upon the already overstretched rescue centres and individuals operating them.
There are literally hundreds of rescue centres around the UK, but not all operate to the same high standards. The minimum you should accept for your dog is a rescue centre that Neuters, Vaccinates, carries out Home Checks and has a Non Destruction Policy. We have provided a list of rescues HERE which at the time of writing adhere to these standards and have a generally good reputation.
Things can change over time! It is vital that you double check, making these same enquiries yourself – you need to be 100% sure you are passing your dog into safe hands.
As well as confirming the rescue centre neuters, vaccinates, carries out home checks, and has a suitable non-destruction policy you should also look at their website and Facebook page, read visitor comments, and access any policies that are available. Ask to view a kennel or to see photos of them, do an internet search to see if the centre has ever received bad press, and ask if you can keep in touch to see how your dog is doing.
What the Centre should expect from you
When asking for the support of a rescue centre, we would advise the following
- Be honest about your dog. It is vital that you give as much, accurate information as possible when trying to rehome your dog. Covering up a particular problem is unfair on both the rescue centre and any potential new home. You may also find that you lose the opportunity of a kennel space if your dog isn’t as you have described! Ask if you can send in photos of your dog and/or videos. This can help the rescue centre form a much better, all-round picture of your dog, relaxed and happy in his home environment.
- Neuter and vaccinate. Rescue centres tend to operate on tight budgets. Due to cost implications, an already neutered and vaccinated dog may stand a better chance of finding a rescue space quickly, than an unneutered dog that doesn’t have its vaccinations up to date. This is a responsibility you should take on if you possibly can! Not only is it kinder for your dog to go through the neutering process with familiar people, recovery from surgery is less stressful in the comfort of the animals own home.
If you are not able to neuter and vaccinate your dog, offering to cover some or all of these costs will be a huge help to the rescue centre.
Neutering can also help dogs with behavioural issues and prevents all kinds of serious, even fatal, medical conditions. A rescue centre can be a strange and stressful place for any dog, and unwanted behaviours may increase because of this. If neutering eliminates all or some of these behaviours it will be of huge benefit to your dog. A fully vaccinated dog is also less likely to introduce or contract diseases, which may be present in a rescue environment.
Getting your dog there (transport)
When contacting a rescue centre don’t be put off by the distance! Many rescue centres have foster homes and contacts all over the country. They may be able to meet you half way or even arrange all of the transport. If you are able to donate towards this please do, it could make all the difference.
If you secure a rescue space but it isn’t local, please look into every option you can to get your animal there – try friends, neighbours and family and offer to cover their fuel costs. It’s worth the effort, remember: a rescue centre will ensure your dog receives the care it deserves and is rehomed to a responsible, loving new home.
If you are unable to transport your dog yourself, please consider contacting the groups listed to see if they can help. Some are volunteer-based, others do charge a fee.
Click for 'The Animal Team'
Click for 'Animal Accident Rescue Unit'
Click for 'Animals at Home'
Click for 'Animal Couriers'
If you have a pedigree dog you should always try the pedigree rescues, and bear in mind some will also accept crosses. Pedigree rescues exist for just about every breed. These rescues have in depth knowledge of their breed, can offer advice, and may even have homes waiting for your breed of dog. You will find a comprehensive list here –
Again, please don’t be put off by distance – these rescues are often willing to arrange, or at least help with transport.
It is crucial that you establish that the rescue is ethical and has a good reputation. You need to be sure they do not breed dogs or breed from dogs they rescue, neuter all rescues, and rehome responsibly. Look at their website and Facebook pages, and ask as many questions as possible!
Dogs are the most popular pet in the UK. It is inevitable that the circumstances of some owners will change over time. Illness, housing and financial issues, and even death can have a huge effect.
However extreme your situation please NEVER just abandon your dog. This is the most irresponsible thing you can do – it is dangerous and your dog's life is put at risk.
It is also extremely traumatic for your dog. If they do survive being abandoned, some dogs will never overcome the trauma of the experience. If an abandoned dog is found outside a rescue/brought in to a rescue they know nothing at all about that dog; no age, no history, no information on their character. The dog doesn’t even have a name. This not only makes it very difficult to rehome the dog but will also add to the stress and confusion of that already suffering animal.
If the rescue centre does not have the facilities to take dogs, your pet may be passed on to the authorities and in some circumstances even destroyed!