How to safely relocate a dog

French bulldog on the windowsill

Md Ammar Alam / 500px / Getty

You planned to stay with your dog for at least 12 to 15 years, but things just aren’t working out. Life is coming. Maybe a family member has developed an allergy to dogs, or your job requires you to travel often. Perhaps your dog has behavioral or health issues that seem beyond your capabilities. Now you find yourself struggling with a difficult decision: should I find a new home for my dog?

It is a difficult choice to make, and it is sure to arouse many emotions. Despite any guilt feelings you might have, placement is the responsible thing to do when you can no longer take care of your dog. Even the President of the United States made this difficult decision.

What does relocating a dog mean?

Adopting a dog means finding a new home where your dog will be happy and safe. Relocation is not the same as abandonment. By finding a good home, you are doing what is best for your dog. It is not the same as handing over a dog to an animal shelter, as you will be moving your dog directly from your home to a new one. When you abandon a dog at a shelter, the dog will live in a kennel or foster family until a new home can be found. Unfortunately, many shelters are overcrowded and some dogs never find their forever home.

3 Common Reasons Pet Parents May Consider Placing A Dog As A Last Resort

It helps to exhaust all other options before you start looking for your dog’s new home. You and your dog have established a bond and a routine, so placement will be stressful for both of you. There is no shame in asking for help in making an informed decision.

Leanne Smith, Director of Clinical Practice at the Paws Humane Society, says, “There are many programs and organizations out there that focus on keeping animals in their homes and they can help. Most people give up on their pets because they feel like they don’t have any other real choice. In many cases, if owners are serious about keeping their pets, help is available. It just takes a little direction and a lot of dedication. “

1. Financial struggles

If you are considering adopting your dog because of a work or financial situation, consider asking your family or friends to help you care for your dog until your situation changes. You will know your dog is in good hands and you may be able to visit him every now and then. Shelters and pet welfare organizations sometimes also provide resources such as food and veterinary care that help pet owners keep their pets even in times of difficulty. Searching Google for “pet food bank near me” is a good way to start exploring these options.

2. Take care of your pet’s medical problems

Medical issues can be overwhelming, but there may be a way to keep your dog and get help with the financial and logistical aspects of caring for your pet. If paying vet bills is a problem, you may be able to apply for a line of credit from your regular vet or get help from a local vet clinic at low cost. Or maybe your dog needs more daily grooming than you can handle. Even basic dog care can be difficult if you have a busy schedule or personal limitations. Ask your vet about the home care options. Your vet may be able to direct you to a qualified pet sitter who can come to your home and help you with treatments. A dog walker is also a great option if you want to provide your dog with more exercise and human interaction.

3. Behavioral challenges

If you face behavioral issues that seem irreparable, you are not alone. This is one of the most common reasons owners choose to relocate their dogs. The good news is that many behavioral problems can be solved or reduced through training, conditioning, and behavior modification. Look for a dog trainer or animal behaviorist who focuses on positive reinforcement methods. A professional can offer an informed and experienced opinion on your dog’s situation and potential solutions.

If your dog has bitten a person or animal, it is best to meet with a behavior consultant before deciding to relocate him. A professional can help you determine the best environment for the dog while ensuring the safety of people and other animals.

How to relocate a dog

If you have decided that placement is the right choice, then now is the time to find the best possible home for your dog. Take a few minutes to write an information sheet about your dog that lists their name, age, weight, medical conditions, and medications. Describe your dog’s personality and temperament, making sure to mention any behavioral issues or special needs.

Next, think about the type of home environment that will make your dog happy. When shelter workers place dogs in new homes, “We look at why the dog wasn’t working in his old home,” says Smith. “Then we are looking for a house / family where the qualities of this animal match better. For example, if a dog has trouble getting along with other pets, a one-pet household is a good choice. A high energy dog ​​will do best in a home where plenty of exercise is provided. If your dog has trouble with stairs, you’ll want to avoid multi-story homes.

In many cases, the best home for your dog is with family or friends. Besides the peace of mind of knowing your dog is in good hands, you can even visit him periodically.

Be sure to check the contract or documents if you adopted your dog from a rescue group or bought a puppy from a breeder. Some organizations require you to return your dog to them if you can no longer provide them with a home. This allows the organization to take responsibility for the dog and use the information you provide to find the right home. Even though the return of the dog was not part of the original agreement, many breeders and rescue groups will take pets back to ensure they are properly placed.

You can contact local dog rescue groups to see if they can accept your dog into a foster program. If you have a purebred (or near-pure) dog, contact breed-specific rescue groups in your area. Be aware that some organizations will charge you a fee to cover the cost of placing a dog.

If you are unable to find a new home for your dog using any of these methods, you may want to find a stranger to take your dog with. You can screen potential adopters by seeking help from trusted sources. Ask your vet and staff if they know of anyone who is able to adopt your dog. Use social media contacts to help spread the word and vouch for people. Your local animal shelter may be able to offer advice on selecting potential adopters. You can even search for an online resource like Rehome that will help you connect with people looking for pets. For your safety and the best interests of your dog, avoid anonymous sources like Craigslist where you cannot properly screen people.

How does a dog feel when greeted?

Placement can be an emotional experience for you and your dog. You may feel guilt and sadness, but you also have the ability to understand what is going on and why it is the best thing for everyone. On the other hand, your dog will likely be confused and afraid of the change. Dogs often experience depression or anxiety during the transition and will benefit from calm and positive interactions with new people and animals. It will be helpful to keep in touch with the new owner in case any advice or information is needed. Most dogs adjust gradually over the first few weeks and will eventually become happy and comfortable in their new home.

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