By Tim Falk
Published: 04/06/2021, edited: 10/05/2022
When you welcomed your puppy into your family, you thought you’d be giving them their "fur-ever" home. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out as we plan.
Due to a wide range of reasons, some loving pet parents are forced to make a heartbreaking call on whether or not they should find a new home for their puppy. It’s an emotional topic and one that often prompts plenty of heated debate.
So if you’re here because you want to know if it’s wrong to rehome your puppy, the truth is that there’s no "one-size-fits-all" answer to this question. It all comes down to what’s best for your pup and ensuring that they get to enjoy a long and happy life.
Sometimes, there really is no other option but to find a new home for your pup. In other situations, there are steps you can take to find a suitable solution that doesn’t involve surrendering your pooch.
Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the argument to find out when it is and isn’t OK to rehome a dog.
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you simply have no other option but to surrender your pup. This can be a truly devastating experience, and the guilt of having to part ways with your pooch is something that can stay with you for a very long time.
But there’s no judgment here. In some cases, rehoming your dog is very much in their best interests. Examples include:
If you’re too ill or frail to care for your dog. These situations are particularly heartbreaking. Your puppy may be your entire world, but if your health has taken a turn for the worse and you’re simply unable to give them the exercise, training, attention, or all-round care they need, it might be time to find them a more suitable home.
If it’s not safe to keep your dog. If your dog has a serious problem with aggression, it simply may not be safe to keep them in your home — particularly if you have young children. Unfortunately, rehoming an aggressive dog can be quite a difficult process.
If you’re financially unable to care for them. If you’ve lost your job or your pooch requires ongoing expensive medical care, the financial pressures of caring for a dog may be too much to bear. While there may be workarounds in some cases — for example, you might be able to talk to your vet about a payment plan while you get your finances back on track — sometimes it may not be possible to give your pup the standard of care they need with the resources you have.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of situations where rehoming may be the best solution, and it’s worth remembering that no two situations are the same. Where some pet parents may be able to find a way to keep their dog, this may not be possible for others. And while parting with your dog is heartbreaking, sometimes it just ensures the best outcome for all parties.
Extreme circumstances aside, rehoming your dog shouldn’t be the first option you consider.
An ASPCA study released in 2015 revealed that more than an estimated 1 million American households rehome their pets every year. Sadly, many of the common issues that lead to dogs being surrendered are ones with possible solutions.
In these situations, there may be some circumstances where you eventually end up having to rehome your dog. But you love your pup and you made a commitment to them in the first place, so isn’t it worth exploring every possible option first?
Behavioral problems are regularly cited as the most common reason why dogs are rehomed. So before you part ways with your pooch, why not take the time to get to the bottom of the problem behavior?
For example, if your dog is destructive when left home alone, could this be a result of separation anxiety? Are they getting enough exercise each day to help them stay happy and healthy? Could their appetite for destruction simply be their way of alleviating boredom? There are plenty of potential causes of this problem, and lots of simple ways it could be overcome.
Dogs aren’t born knowing the right way to behave in our world, nor do they start life as model citizens. It’s up to us to teach them how we want them to behave, plus provide the mental stimulation and physical exercise they need to stay happy. And with the help of an experienced dog trainer or animal behaviorist, many puppy behavior problems can be solved.
Another common reason for rehoming a puppy is landlord issues. This can be a particularly frustrating problem, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your dog. It’s always worth exploring other options, such as coming to some sort of agreement with your landlord or searching for pet-friendly rentals nearby, before you consider rehoming your pooch.
Of course, even if you exhaust every option to try and make things work, you may still end up having to rehome your pup. This can be a painful blow, but the knowledge that you tried everything you could to keep them will provide some level of comfort.
Thinking of getting your first puppy? Please be aware that a dog is a long-term commitment — we’re talking 10 years or more — and while they make wonderful, loving companions, our four-legged friends also require plenty of hard work.
We should also mention the importance of researching dog breeds before you welcome a new puppy into your family. This will give you a clearer idea of how much exercise your new pet will need, how easy they’ll be to train, and how much daily interaction they’ll need to stay happy and healthy.
In short, it’s all about trying to choose a pet that will be a good fit for your lifestyle. While this won’t necessarily prevent any future problems, it’ll give your pup the best shot at enjoying a long and happy life in your home.
If you find yourself in the terrible situation of seriously contemplating giving up your puppy, don’t let anyone try to make you feel guilty for considering this course of action. It’s an incredibly difficult decision and one with the potential to leave you feeling unhappy no matter which option you choose.
What matters is that you carefully consider all options before making your final decision. If there are other avenues you can safely pursue before deciding to rehome — this could be anything from additional training to holding out to find a pet-friendly rental property — it’s worth exploring them. But if rehoming is the best option for your dog and for you, sometimes it’s simply the right thing to do.
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