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Last updated: June 17, 2019 • Lifestyle

How to Rehome a Pet Successfully

Your love for pets has turned you into a pet owner. Great! According to a Global GfK survey from 2016, 50% of American pet owners look after a dog, 39% are cat lovers, 11% have a fish tank, and 6% prefer the winged ones, the colorful little noisy birds. A more recent survey says that 68% of households in the U.S. own a pet. The 2017-2018 National Pet Owner Survey reveals slightly higher numbers: 60.2% own a dog, 47.1% cats, 12.5% freshwater fish, and 7.9% birds. But every so often, pet owners find themselves in the unfortunate situation that they need to rehome a dog, cat, or another type of pet. I have personally never had to rehome my pet but here is what you should know about rehoming a pet just in case you have to move or your time becomes scarce and you feel guilty for neglecting it.

Reasons you may have to rehome your pet

  • You are moving to one of America’s top cities to live in.
  • You are changing jobs.
  • You lost a loved one who had a pet.
  • You have a pet allergy.
  • Your relationship status has changed.
  • You are struggling with debt and credit card payments.
  • You’ve experienced a home disaster or an act of god such as a wildfire.

Moving to Another City

Moves are always stressful for both humans and animals. What could make a move even more stressful? Not being allowed to take your pet with you. For example, you’ve rented an apartment in a condominium that is not pet-friendly but is closer to your work or your partner’s job. Or maybe you’re going to move together with your future spouse who has some kind of pet allergy. There are plenty of reasons you may need to rehome a pet before moving to another city, that is why we recommend that you read the HOA rules and regulations carefully.

Yes, indeed, a move brings with it the wind of change. And sometimes, as much as you love your pets, deep inside you know you have to let them go, for their sake…

But wait, are you selling your house as well? Then, when a real estate agent shows it to potential buyers, you want it as clean as possible. Do you think that having a house full of pets sells as fast as a cleanly staged house? There is a lack of research on this topic, but you know how it happens: every home buyer with pets thinks their pets are perfect and yours are savage. So as soon as the house becomes listed, make sure you find a temporary new home for your pet(s)!

Rehoming a Dog or a Cat When You Move to Another City

Of course, there are beautiful and comfortable travel crates for cats, and the dog may sit next to you, on the front seat with its head out the window. Birds won’t escape their Art Nouveau bird cages either. Normally, that’s how you would take a pet to your new home.

But when that is simply impossible, then, to successfully rehome a dog or any other pet, start as soon as you know you will not be able to take it with you. Finding your pet a good home is of utmost importance. Ask your family and friends – this should work really fast. If this fails, go to your neighbors or even go and reach out to your social media friends, posting a beautiful and funny picture/video with your furry friend is always a good way to start. The news should spread at the bat of an eyelid. Or maybe you’d rather sit down and create a profile for your pet on Adopt-A-Pet. As a last resort, Dog Lover’s Digest also provides a list of shelters and rescue organizations from every state that can provide a temporary solution until you find a stable environment for your pet .

Are you a proud owner of a cool pet such as a parrot, iguana or snake? If things don’t go the route you planned, then you may want to donate them to a school as a classroom pet or a local Zoo.

You are Changing Jobs

sad pets

A new job with more responsibilities will leave little time for your pets. Longer shifts or simply a new working schedule will disrupt not only your routine but also your pet’s routine. You will know from your dog’s barking and energy level that you’re late for dinner. No. Not your dinner. Your dog’s dinner!

Or are you among the 4.9% of Americans who hold more than one job?

Sometimes, to do what you love means to give up what you love. So, if you’re single and a workaholic, rehoming your pet may make a lot of sense for their best interest.

When you have kids, giving your dog or cat up for adoption will be hard. That is why we highly recommend you to find a relative that can care for your pet. That way you know who is taking care of your pet and your children can visit them as much as they want.

Rehoming a Cat or a Dog When Changing Jobs

The same principles as above will apply in this case too. You want to rehome a dog or a cat as soon as you know you will change your job and you will no longer be able to take care of it. Tell your family and friends, tell your neighbors and eventually, put an announcement on your Facebook page.  

When rehoming a cat or a dog, you may also want to create a profile for your pet on Adopt-A-Pet – North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website.

It shouldn’t take too long for the most common pets. For more exotic pets, such as snakes and Tarantulas, it might seem like a more challenging process but you never know, people do often surprise us.

You Lost a Loved one Who Had a Pet

cute dog mourning

TRUE STORY: When Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson died, his dog was lying almost petrified on the floor at his funeral, guarding his casket. A loyal friend to the very end, his dog was mourning over his death bringing tears on everyone’s face. This happened in 2011.

But I have heard of many pets that were so emotionally attached to their caretakers that they wouldn’t leave the graveyard without them, and would mourn for days …

Have you ever thought about what will happen with the pet of your friend or relative in the event of an unexpected death? Most of the times, people don’t plan for the future of their pets, since most pet owners expect to outlive them. But when a loved one dies, make sure their pets will not end up stranded and help find a lovely new home for the rest of their lives instead. Adoption should be the last resort. Try to keep the their pets in the family by befriending them and learning all their habits.

How to Rehome a Cat or a Dog After the Death of Their Caretaker

First of all, I would recommend that all pet owners include their pets in their will. In this way they ensure a good future for their pet, be it a dog, a cat or a bird. This is especially important for dogs or cats that have won famous pet beauty contests. This kind of pets may even benefit from an insurance policy! The main thing you need to know about pet insurance is that it can greatly cut vet bills!

If a pet owner tragically dies, they should have a pet care card attached to their keyring. It normally contains all the details necessary to save the pet’s life.

Pet care stickers should be placed on front windows or even on the mailbox, especially in the event of a natural disaster or just in case the homeowners will never come back…

Make sure your loved ones have a plan in place for their pet(s) and try to find it! It’ll make rehoming a dog or a cat so much easier!

You Have a Pet Allergy

As a future pet owner I’m sure that you’ve already made all the preparations and learned all you could about your future pet. But what if you’ve found out about a hidden pet allergy?

Don’t worry! Allergies are part of our daily lives. Fortunately, there is a pill for every kind of allergy. You don’t have to find a new home for your dog due to an allergy!

Pet allergies are quite common and it’s not something to overlook when bringing a new pet into your home. According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, cats and dogs cause allergic reactions in three out of 10 Americans, especially if they have another allergy or asthma. Testing for allergies to cat and dog dander is important. If taking care after that furry pet means the world to you, then you can go an extra mile and keep it in spite of your allergy.

Only if your allergy becomes extremely severe and might higher the risk of other comorbidities, only then you should try to rehome your beloved pet.

Rehoming a Dog or Cat Due to Pet Allergy

Besides applying all the previous tips, make sure the new caretaker does not have any allergies also. Or even if he/she has an allergy, they are already taking enough medication so one more pill will still fit in their pill box if need be. I know it sounds strange, but if someone really falls in love with your pet, then an allergy pill is the last thing they’ll worry about.

Your Relationship Status has Changed

couple breaking up

Pets come in our lives at different stages of our relationships. Like it happens in romantic movies, pets sometimes get the role of matchmakers. Two people walking their dogs in the street may find that they have much more in common than a love for dogs. It’s interesting how pets can spark up a conversation! But there is also the case when one buys a Chihuahua for example only to seduce a beautiful lady who owns a dog of the same breed. But what happens if it doesn’t work out? That Chihuahua will probably need a new home… Not every love story ends like the 101 dalmatians.

Sometimes, pets become gifts. Children usually get one and they become attached to it very soon. For them, it’s not just another interactive toy but a friend for life. Together, they gather childhood memories that last a lifetime. Many studies have revealed that pets increase children’s psychological well-being and are linked to their development, improving their communication skills and reducing their stress. Later on, however, a pet proves to be too much of a responsibility for them and fail to feed it properly, so its health deteriorates. They need the help of an adult family member, for sure.

Even adults receive pets as a gift on occasions such as Valentine’s Day or birthdays. If you thought about giving a pet to a loved one, make sure they don’t have a pet allergy, though. If they do, send a bunch of flowers and a nice stuffed animal instead.

So, receiving a dog or a cat from a person who you are in love with, makes your relationship with that pet even more special. And yes, people do get attached to stuffed animals as well. A gift like this takes the relationship to the next level with the beautiful commitment there is involved with having a pet. The love you experience while having a pet is truly magical.

If you break up with your partner, though, you will most likely fight over your pet. Who should keep it? Custody battles can be tough. Maybe you really love the pet and want to keep it, but your ex wants it back… Or not too long after your break-up, you may feel like you no longer like the pet because it keeps reminding you of your ex in this case you can rehome your dog or cat by simply returning it to your ex-lover.

Rehoming a Dog or a Cat After a Change in Relationship

Most dog owners in the United States are between 45 and 54 years old, while the average age of cat owners is 55 to 64 years. Cat owners tend to have lower incomes than dog owners, according to Veterinarian’s Money Digest. At these ages, midlife crisis can occur without any given notice. As unpredictable as they may be, pet owners may never disconsider their pets.

Rehoming your pet when brokenhearted goes the same old route: ask your family and friends, ask your neighbors and share on social media. But feel free to pick ideas from the other sections of this article.  

You are Struggling with Mortgage Payments

man moving with his pet due to foreclosure

When you get to that point in your life when debt becomes a burden, all you need is a lifestyle change. You need to grow up and take life seriously. A lifestyle change usually starts at a crossroad, when you stop right where you are to look behind at all the years that have passed; when you sum up what you’ve accomplished so far and outline the person you want to become. Read through your priorities! This may translate into a process of decluttering and downsizing; a process of simplifying life and reducing everyday living expenses.

It is not unusual for people to rehome their pets in times of financial distress or during periods of unemployment. When you are lagging behind in your car or house payments, wasting money is not an option. Forget about shopping sprees and impulsive buying!  The first thing you need to do is to cut living cost to a minimum and defray the hidden costs of home ownership. I know it’s hard, but keep in mind that it’s only temporary. You may want to cut costs on food, clothing, makeup products, leisure activities, and rehoming your pet may not be the first thought to cross your mind.

For some people having a pet is a luxury! The costs of owning a pet doesn’t seem high at a first glance. Dog owners have higher costs than cat owners. A furry friend will cost you over $1000 in the first year, including training and around $500/year starting with its second year. When it comes to life expectancy, small- to medium-sized dogs have a life expectancy of 14 years, while the larger dogs are expected to live about 8 years. According to PetPlace, cute little dogs will take between $7,240 and $12,700 out of your pocket, depending on how long you keep them. Larger breeds, like German Shepherd or Golden Retriever, will deprive you of up to $7,950 over their lifetime.

Dogs and cats are more expensive than you think

You may say that to keep a dog or a cat around the house is not such a big expense for you. But, the fact is that in the United States there are over 89 million dogs, 94.2 million cats, 20.3 million birds, and over 130 million freshwater fish – numbers provided by Statista. In the big picture, costs add up.

If you are committed to reducing your debt or to paying off your mortgage faster, then I would recommend that you sit down and make a new annual family budget that includes a pet in your monthly expenses. I strongly recommend that you consider pet insurance, too. Even so, there is an opportunity cost in all this story. Imagine that increasing your monthly mortgage payments with only as little as your pet’s maintenance cost can help you repay your debt sooner! On the other hand, a pet brings joy right now, while your mortgage will make you happy only after a few long years. It’s up to you to decide if you trade your money for immediate benefits or for long-term benefits.

And you know what? Next time your dog shows signs of estrus, you don’t have to breed it. While puppies and cats are cute and friendly, they come with a price-tag attached. It’s easy to breed a dog, but now that you’ve seen both sides of the coin, do you really have to?

Rehoming a Dog or a Cat When Struggling with Debt

Getting a pet is a big responsibility not just by taking care of it but also financially, so think twice before making a decision. Most people don’t take all the aspects into consideration thus our advice for you is to read as much as you can about that particular pet, and see if your schedule and income can support its lifestyle. Good research and budgeting will make you a happy pet owner in the end.

However you didn’t and now you find yourself in the situation of rehoming your pet. You must find a good host, that can really afford it. Singles may want to rehome their pet in a home with children. Families with children may want their cat or dog to be a companion for an elderly person. The goal of rehoming a pet is to make someone happy eventually.

Your family and friends will probably help you rehome a cat or a dog. They don’t have to tell everyone that you are struggling financially, and you should tell them to look for a debt-free host if possible. If this channel fails, Dog Lover’s Digest list of shelters is another way to find a new home for your beloved pet.

When you are over-indebted, pets may seem too demanding. Or without realizing it, you might be the owner of a high-maintenance pet! The last thing I want you to worry about is how to rehome a high-maintenance pet. There are pet owners who would only raise a certain breed and many might be looking for a partner for their pet. This is especially true for those specialized in breeding. These guys are experts in genetics so don’t be afraid to show them your pet! They might find certain traits worth passing on to the future generations so breeders will take good care of your pet.

Besides breeders, try to find pet clubs near you! This is the best way to meet people interested in the
same pet, who can afford to take good care of another one.

I know it’s hard to admit that you can’t afford something. However, making the right choice at the right time is vital.

Difficult pets to rehome

While very exotic pets are not particularly desired as companions, there are pets that we may find hard to let go for other reasons.

Bella, my aunt’s old dog, came slowly to me and rested at my feet. I could tell that she felt tired. Her breathing was loud and she could barely walk. Bella had lung cancer and doctors said she had less than a month to live. My aunt keeps saying then when Bella dies, she’ll go with her… It hurts to see how cancer affects dogs, too. But once you find your dog is sick, you should not rehome it. Why not take care of it until the end?

Dogs that have behavioral issues may be difficult to rehome, too. Make sure you disclose this problem first and see if those interested to adopt it can afford training.

Obese animals are also hard to rehome. Also, if the pet is pregnant, make sure the future caretaker will not be shocked later.

Have you ever had to rehome a dog, a cat or something else? Leave your story in a comment! We would really love to find about your experience!

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