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Adopting an Older Dog
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Safely rehoming your Dog

5 min read

Dogs are more than just pets, they’re members of our families. Giving up a dog for adoption is heart-breaking, but sometimes life doesn’t go to plan and this might be the best decision for both of you.

Before you make up your mind, it’s important to ensure you’ve exhausted all other possible solutions. But if you think you can’t give your pup the life you had in mind for them, here is what to consider and how to make sure they get the forever home they deserve.

Is giving up your dog for adoption the best solution?

No doubt you’ve never imagined that you will have to find your best friend a new home. Finding yourself in this dilemma is challenging. But it’s worth pausing and thinking about all the different ways in which you can help your pooch. Depending on the circumstances, here are a few things to consider before deciding to put your dog up for adoption.

Help from Friends and Family  

Sometimes our friends and family may not know that we’re struggling to cope and may be more willing to help than you might think. Whether that’s taking the dog for a walk once a day, or helping out with financial concerns, the people closest to us are often our biggest support. 

Changes in your living situation

Whether it’s a new job that doesn’t allow you the same flexibility to look after your dog, or a change in the family schedule that means you won’t have as many hours available to dedicate to the pup in your life, time is one of the most precious resources in our relationships with our pets. There are many professional dog carers out there who would love to keep your pooch company while the family is away. Dog walkers and doggy daycare services are also available, so it’s worth researching a few local options, to see what they offer and at what cost. Maybe a family member or friend wouldn’t mind looking after your dog a few hours a day. It’s always worth asking!

Even if you decide to give up your dog for adoption, considering all the possible options will give you peace of mind knowing that you left no stone unturned to keep the canine friend in your life.

Owning the dog is too expensive

Unfortunately, the costs of owning a dog can be easily underestimated. From vaccinations to puppy training, insurance, toys, grooming services and medical costs, there are many expenses to be covered throughout the life of a dog. Sudden medical emergencies or life-long illnesses can put any owner’s budget under pressure.

But before you put your dog up for adoption because you can’t afford them anymore, you should know that there are many options for owners in situations similar to yours. There are charities created to help dog lovers, so it’s worth getting in touch with a few of them. Your vet might even know a few of these amazing organisations you can turn to. Consider learning to groom your dog yourself as this will save you quite a good amount of money in the long term. When it comes to medical bills, don’t hesitate to ask the vet for advice or even if it’s possible to pay in instalments. A good tip is to contact RSPCA as well and check if you’re eligible for low-cost vet appointments. These can go a long way in helping minimise your dog’s medical bills.

Medical Issues 

  • Getting pet insurance is very important to make sure that, should something happen to your pet, finances will not be an obstacle in making sure they get the treatment they desperately need. RSPCA Pet Insurance is underwritten and provided by Covea Insurance plc, and can help your pet in their time of need. There are a range of pet insurance products to suit a variety of pet's needs, and for different budgets too. For those who are struggling to pay their vet fees, many vet practices will be able to set up a payment plan so that owners can pay in smaller instalments, rather than in one lump sum. There is also veterinary financial assistance available for those who are eligible through the RSPCA and other organisations like PDSA. 
  • If you become unwell and need to go into hospital, in England and Wales, the council has a duty under legislation to make provision for the protection of property (which includes pets). This means they must board and care for those animals unless, or until, there are friends or relatives of the person who can do this. However, this is a short-term measure and it’s important that you think about who would care for your pet if you go into hospital or pass away. If the last 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that we never know what might happen.
  • During the pandemic, the RSPCA urged owners to make an emergency pet care plan, but this is also a responsible thing to do at any time. We're asking owners to fill in an emergency pet care form and display this visibly in their home to ensure that, should the worst happen, there will be someone there to care for their pet. 

How to put up a dog for adoption

If you’ve been through all the different scenarios and the conclusion is that it’s time to say goodbye to your canine fellow, here is how to make sure they end up with a loving family and in the perfect home.

Talk to your friends and family

Oftentimes it’s the people closest to us who are able to give our pets the best life. They’re likely quite familiar with each other and chances are they already love the pet as if the dog is their own. So, it’s worth asking if they would like to adopt your pet. Even if they’re not able to take the responsibility themselves, they might know someone who is willing and able to give your pet the home they deserve.

Get in touch with the seller

Sometimes the original seller or breeder might be willing to take the dog back. This depends on many factors, including how long you’ve owned the pet and the reason you’re deciding to give them away. But even if this goes against their rules, they might be able to point you in the right direction.

Contact trustworthy rescue groups or charities

Fortunately, there are many wonderful dog rescue groups and charities ready to match your pet with the perfect family. In the UK, Blue Cross operates many rehoming centres across the country and through their Home Direct scheme will make sure your dog goes from one loving home straight into another, so the dog won’t have to spend stressful days in a kennel waiting for their new owner. Get in touch with them and see how they can help your dog find their new home.

Visit for details. 

Prepare a small bag with their favourite food and toys

Make the transition go down easier for your pup by sending them off to their new loving home with familiar items such as their blanket, bed, toys and even a bag of their favourite dog food. They’ll find comfort in the stuff they’re used to as they become more familiar to the new environment and the new people in their life.

The answer to the questions ‘how to put up my dog for adoption’ should always have your pet’s best interests covered. Even in urgent situations, you should make sure you leave your dog in good hands. In those cases, a friend or family member might be able to take your pet in for a few days as you take the time to solve the unpredictable events in your life, while looking for a responsible new owner who would love to give your dog the home they deserve. Managing your dog’s separation anxiety is key in making sure the moment when you have to say good bye goes as smoothly as possible. Check out our expert guide for how to help dogs cope with separation.

For more information on the support available to pet owners, please visit: 

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181. 

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